Sunday, January 30, 2005

Nick Dougherty wins after being given strange ruling

Nick Dougherty outlasted Colin Montgomerie to win the Singapore Open today, but I must say there was a really strange ruling on the 16th hole, a long par four. Dougherty, feeling the pressure from a birdie by Monty on the previous hole, took out his driver and snapped one into what appeared to be the left fairway bunker. Monty, hitting a fairway metal, simply slapped it up the middle.
When Dougherty arrived, he found his ball not quite in Pete Dye's bunker, but alongside it, near the railroad ties Dye often used. I'm pretty sure that an amateur would have played it where it lay, but Dougherty thought he'd clip one of the railway ties with his swing, so he asked for a ruling. Rules officials allowed him to take a drop outside the bunker, almost in the fairway. If he'd had to stay in the bunker, there was a chance he wouldn't have even found the green. Instead, with the new and improved lie, Dougherty hit it to three feet. Montgomerie, looking annoyed and flustered, left one short on the large green and three putted, while Dougherty calmly tapped in his birdie and went on to win.
It was a strange ruling, given that the tournament officials ruled the railway ties ground under repair for the entire course. Weird - I was have thought Dougherty would have had to take an unplayable or try the shot.

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