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Did anyone else see Vijay cheat on Sunday??

Augster

Rules Nerd
Supporting Member
Mar 9, 2005
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I'm sorry, I have to get this off my chest. Hopefully someone here knows somebody, a writer, a rules official, ANYONE, involved with the PGA Tour. I have been trying since Sunday night. First, to get a hold of and make sure Vijay didn't sign and incorrect card. Then, after the round, to make sure he was DQ'd for signing said incorrect card.

Watching Doral Sunday, I couldn't believe NOBODY said anything about it. I have tried contacting the PGA Tour via email. Of course nobody gets back to me, same as after the Nissan. So, I CALL the PGA Tour, get a voicemail, and nothing is done about it. I wrote an email to Golf Central on TGC HOPING that maybe THEY'd follow up on it. I wrote to the USGA also just to make sure I MYSELF am playing the Rule Correctly. The USGA usually takes 3 or 4 weeks to get back to you, but they do get back. I also wrote to Gary Van Sickel's mailbag at CNNSI.com where I've gotten in before.

It's not that I care to take away Vijay's $310,000 or anything. I'd just like to create AWARENESS. I'd hate, later in the year, if Vijay, OR ANYBODY, lost in a major because THIS TIME somebody called them on it. I just can't believe I'm the ONLY PERSON IN AMERICA that saw it.

Here it is. If you have it Tivo'd or taped, go back and look at it if you don't believe me.

Sunday at Doral Vijay is slowly making a move and knows he needs to score on the Par 5 10th to get back with Phil and Tiger. He goes for the green in two, ending up in the greenside bunker. His 3rd shot, he chunks into a different bunker closer to the green.

Now, granted, it initially looked like his ball was going to catch on the grass above the bunker, but if you watch, the ball clearly rolls back into the bunker AND his next shot is played from the bunker. He makes a sand save for par from the second bunker.

Here is the violation. After Vijay chunked his 3rd shot into the different bunker, he proceeded to take AT LEAST two practice swings in the previous bunker, bringing up sand both times! He was rearing back for a 3rd swing when the camera cuts away. This is in DIRECT VIOLATION of Rule 13-4a!

Rule 13-4a says you can't test the conditions of the hazard OR ANY LIKE HAZARD! If your ball is in a bunker, you can't practice your sand shot digging up sand in a different bunker. Likewise, if your ball is 1/2 in, 1/2 out of water hazard, you can't find a different nearby hazard and practice the shot.

I think either Vijay ONLY saw his 3rd shot land on the grass and stopped watching, or more likely, just doesn't know the rule. What amazed me is EVERY GROUP has a rules official with them. NOTHING.

I'm sorry for such a long first post, but I have to get the word out. Does anyone know if this is correct? Am I reading the rule correctly? I am pretty sure I am. I have my answer coming back from the USGA, eventually, but I was really hoping to get something done about this while Doral is still in the news. Hell, I've been trying since Sunday night.

I know the PGA Tour has their own rules for a lot of things. Immovable obstructions for instance. They deviate from the USGA Rules of Golf, but usually, only if it involves possibly getting spectators hurt. I can't imagine they have a rule circumventing Rule 13-4 because it isn't a safety issue. I'd just hate to see somebody LOSE a US OPEN, where they play by ALL the Rules of Golf, because they didn't know this. The way I read it, you can't even slam your club into the sand in frustration in the same situation.

Thanks for listening.

Augster
 

Loop

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2004
1,418
3
I haven't watched that sequence, but from what I understand:

1. Vijay's 2nd comes into Bunker A.
2. 3rd shot he chunks the ball into Bunker B
3. Vijay makes practice swings into Bunker A
4. 4th shot he makes a sand save from bunker B...

Okay, I don't think there's ANY violation, because he isn't testing bunker B.
Here's a situation you probably encountered: You play a bunker shot, and flub the ball far from the pin. You're unhappy so you dig the sand with your wedge.... There's no penalty for that..
 

Rockford35

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I dunno, I'm with this guy here.

You can't test the sand in ANY bunker. This is the violation. I mean, if you had two bunkers side by side, and you practiced in one before hitting your shot out of another, I can see that being a rules violation.

I never did catch that the first time I saw it, but I remember him taking practice swings afterwards.

Maybe e-mail Golf Digest. You might get your name into an issue!

Good eye, dude, good eye.

R35
 

The master

online
Oct 24, 2004
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I read rule 13-4 and it states the player may not "test the condition of the hazard or any similar hazard". (see below). He is ok, no rule breaking.

13-4. Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions
Except as provided in the Rules, before making a stroke at a ball that is in a hazard (whether a bunker or a water hazard) or that, having been lifted from a hazard, may be dropped or placed in the hazard, the player must not:
a. Test the condition of the hazard or any similar hazard;
b. Touch the ground in the hazard or water in the water hazard with his hand or a club; or
c. Touch or move a loose impediment lying in or touching the hazard.
Exceptions:
1. Provided nothing is done that constitutes testing the condition of the hazard or improves the lie of the ball, there is no penalty if the player (a) touches the ground in any hazard or water in a water hazard as a result of or to prevent falling, in removing an obstruction, in measuring or in retrieving, lifting, placing or replacing a ball under any Rule or (b) places his clubs in a hazard.
2. After making the stroke, the player or his caddie may smooth sand or soil in the hazard, provided that, if the ball is still in the hazard or has been lifted from the hazard and may be dropped or placed in the hazard, nothing is done that improves the lie of the ball or assists the player in his subsequent play of the hole.

This decision may apply:

13-4/37 Ball Played from Bunker Is Out of Bounds or Lost; Player Tests Condition of Bunker or Smoothes Footprints Before Dropping Another Ball in Bunker
Q. A player plays from a bunker and his ball comes to rest out of bounds or is lost. He smoothes his footprints in the bunker at the place where he must drop a ball under Rule 27-1 or, before dropping a ball under Rule 27-1, he takes a few practice swings touching the sand in the bunker. Is the player in breach of Rule 13-4?
A. No. The prohibitions in Rule 13-4 apply only when the player’s ball is in the hazard or when it has been lifted from a hazard and may be dropped or placed in the hazard. In this case, the player’s ball has been played from the hazard rather than lifted.
Furthermore, Exception 2 under Rule 13-4 allows a player, after playing his ball out of a hazard, to smooth sand or soil in the hazard, without restriction. This right overrides any conflicting provisions in other Rules, including Rule 13-2.
 
OP
Augster

Augster

Rules Nerd
Supporting Member
Mar 9, 2005
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Rule 13-4a states "any like hazard".

If you had a tough downhill lie in a bunker, one that you don't practice, wouldn't it be an advantage to go to a different bunker and practice that shot? Yes it would, that's why there's a rule against it.

If you flub one out of the bunker onto ANY grass, or a water hazard, then go ahead and take your cuts. Its just when your NEXT SHOT is from a "like hazard" that you don't get to "practice" it.

The same thing with the ball 1/2 in, 1/2 out of the water. How often does anyone practice that? Never. But, if there were a nearby different hazard, wouldn't it be an advantage to go over to it and make a few practice swings to see just how much resistance there actually will be on your shot? Yes, it would be an advantage, that's why there's a rule against it.


nsherman,

You've seen this discussed elsewhere? GREAT! I haven't been able to find anything on my feeble searches. Hopefully, there will be a grassroots campaign to get this clarified or taken care of.

I just couldn't enjoy watching the golf the rest of the day after that. I kept waiting around for SOMEONE to mention it.
 

The master

online
Oct 24, 2004
1,735
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After you've hit out of a bunker you can take as many practise swings, temper tantrum swats or whatever you want. A bunker is a hazard and as such you cannot ground your club or take parctise swings that make contact with the sand. Once the ball is out you can shovel sand all you want! If a bunker wraps around a green and you hit from one side of the bunker, across the green into the sand on the other side (i.e. same bunker) then you must NOT swat the sand. You are still in the same bunker.
 

bdcrowe

ST Homeland Security
Aug 30, 2004
2,207
276
First, you have spent how much energy trying to rat on some dude for what MAY be a violation? You seriously need a new hobby. Second, it was not a rules violation since (follow this closely) HE HAD ALREADY PLAYED A SHOT AND CLEARED HIS BALL FROM BUNKER A. How can anyone consider his swings as testing the sand if he had already played from that sand?

I don't mean to be a prick or disrespectful, but you guys who spend all this energy looking for and reporting infractions need to get a life. The gestapo was disbanned 60 years ago. Your time has passed. There are fully compitent rules officials on-site. If you want attention, spend your time practicing and get on tour.

I hope Vijay finds out who you are and follows you around your job for a while. "He clocked in 1 minute late!" "He just put a paperclip in his pocket!" "He left the frie in while the fryer was beeping!!!"

And hey... Welcome to the board! ;)
 

Loop

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2004
1,418
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As long as the ball is in a different bunker you've just played, you can swat at the sand all you like.

Well said Master. And props for the correct spelling :)
 
OP
Augster

Augster

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?

I don't see that in the rule at all.

But, I suppose you "could" say, that you have already "tested the conditions". i.e. With your actual stroke. With the conditions tested, during play of your actual shot, you wouldn't be "gaining" any new information about the bunker.

So, if this logic is correct, you CAN'T take practice swings in a different bunker until AFTER you have taken your initial swing. After that initial swing, in the bunker, practicing is okay regardless of where your ball is located as long as it's not in the same bunker? I don't see it myself in the rule, but I could see how it could be interpreted this way.

If this is the case, it will REALLY help ME a LOT! I often shortside myself into a bunker, then, skull it across the green into another, different, bunker. Often, I will do the same thing from that bunker, because I haven't taken any practice swings bringing up sand. Back and forth, back and forth, big number.

I am always looking for the loopholes, because my bunker play is so terrible.

The only problem I have with that logic is that I don't see the phrase, "during the play of a hole" anywhere in Rule 13-4. Without that phrase, and using the above logic, if I am in the bunker on say hole #2, and I play it out and make whatever, are the bunker conditions considered "tested". So, when I put my ball in a bunker on hole #4, could I go to a different bunker on hole #4 and practice my sand shots BEFORE I make my swing from my bunker on hole #4, because the sand won't be a "surprise" to me because I "tested the conditions" on hole #2 with my actual shot?

Ugh. So confusing. I think the USGA needs a re-write to clarify just what exactly they mean with "testing the conditions".
 

bdcrowe

ST Homeland Security
Aug 30, 2004
2,207
276
Augster said:
?

I don't see that in the rule at all.

But, I suppose you "could" say, that you have already "tested the conditions". i.e. With your actual stroke. With the conditions tested, during play of your actual shot, you wouldn't be "gaining" any new information about the bunker.

So, if this logic is correct, you CAN'T take practice swings in a different bunker until AFTER you have taken your initial swing. After that initial swing, in the bunker, practicing is okay regardless of where your ball is located as long as it's not in the same bunker? I don't see it myself in the rule, but I could see how it could be interpreted this way.

If this is the case, it will REALLY help ME a LOT! I often shortside myself into a bunker, then, skull it across the green into another, different, bunker. Often, I will do the same thing from that bunker, because I haven't taken any practice swings bringing up sand. Back and forth, back and forth, big number.

I am always looking for the loopholes, because my bunker play is so terrible.

The only problem I have with that logic is that I don't see the phrase, "during the play of a hole" anywhere in Rule 13-4. Without that phrase, and using the above logic, if I am in the bunker on say hole #2, and I play it out and make whatever, are the bunker conditions considered "tested". So, when I put my ball in a bunker on hole #4, could I go to a different bunker on hole #4 and practice my sand shots BEFORE I make my swing from my bunker on hole #4, because the sand won't be a "surprise" to me because I "tested the conditions" on hole #2 with my actual shot?

Ugh. So confusing. I think the USGA needs a re-write to clarify just what exactly they mean with "testing the conditions".
Hey Aug. I'm trying to reply to your IM, but it keeps timing out. You will be welcome in the tourney. IM me with a desired password, and I'll set you up.
 

nsherman2006

Well-Known Member
Jan 4, 2005
967
1
well the discussion i have seen is going on at freegolfinfo.com. It seems that there is no set definition for 'similar' hazard, and there also seems to be some sort of provision that allows the player to ground his club in a hazard if they will not learn any additional information, so if VJ was taking similar swings from a similar spot in the bunker, it may be acceptable. No conclusion has been reached yet, and i doubt one will be in the near future. Oh well
 

Loop

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2004
1,418
3
Augster said:
?
So, when I put my ball in a bunker on hole #4, could I go to a different bunker on hole #4 and practice my sand shots BEFORE I make my swing from my bunker on hole #4, because the sand won't be a "surprise" to me because I "tested the conditions" on hole #2 with my actual shot?

???
Nope...
I think you just need to interpret the rules with more common sense.
You can't take practice swing in another bunker before you play your actual bunker shot.
BUT you can practice swing in the same bunker you've just played (if the ball is out of the bunker, regardless of where that ball is), because, well, you're already in that bunker...
Ouch... we are repeating ourselves... :faintthud
 

Rockford35

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Loop said:
As long as the ball is in a different bunker you've just played, you can swat at the sand all you like.

Well said Master. And props for the correct spelling :)


Not true.

"Testing any like conditions" means to to me that you can't just go out and practice out of the sand if your ball is in there. At any time.That's why it's called a hazard.

I'm with Augster with this one guys. It might be a futile battle, but one worth mentioning.

I don't care much to persue it, but I think that the language of the rule clearly states that he is in violation. Sure, it's water under the bridge, but a good topic nonetheless.

It's not like Vijay needs the money. ;)

Good work, Augster. And welcome aboard!

R35
 

The master

online
Oct 24, 2004
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Loop said:
As long as the ball is in a different bunker you've just played, you can swat at the sand all you like.

Well said Master. And props for the correct spelling :)


I have saw tour players do it on many occasions.
 

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