Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Handy Is Surprised by 'Kicking' Ruling

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Handy Is Surprised by 'Kicking' Ruling

Article excerpt

THE Rory McIlroy affair at the Masters has created the need for an impromptu rules conference before the finals of the Northumberland and Durham Inter Counties Foursomes start at South Shields on Saturday.

The referees for the semi-finals - also the two counties' finals - are the captains, Kevin Cademy-Taylor of Northumberland and Durham County's James Handy.

So will anybody kicking the sand in temper if they leave their ball in a bunker forfeit the hole in what is a matchplay tournament? No, reckons Cademy-Taylor. "Although it was clearly an act of temper, McIlroy was equally clearly not testing the sand which would be a clear breach of the rules," he said.

"Common sense prevailed in the end at the Masters and common sense prevailed when McIlroy said he would never 'dance in the sand again.' If it happens at South Shields , I shall bring it to the player's attention in the hope he would have the common sense to stop doing it.

"If he kept on doing it, there would be a pattern emerging and I would have to question whether the player was testing the sand." This view fits with that of the chief European Tour referee John Paramor, who told The Journal: "Under Decision 13-4/0.5, the rules state that a player whose ball is lying in a bunker who kicks the sand is in breach of Rule 13-4.

"However, after the player has played a stroke, he may repair/smooth the area from which he has played without penalty provided that the ball does not return to the smoothed area.

"This means that as Rory was in the act of smoothing the hitting area, he was absolved from any penalty." However, many observers have queried the Masters ruling, one of them on the reasonable grounds that "if this was McIlroy's chosen technique for levelling, you certainly would not trust him to lay a patio." There is a body of opinion the rules do not allow for the leniency given McIlroy, that he should have taken the strokeplay penalty of two shots and that, by not doing so, he signed for the wrong scorecard and should have been disqualified. …

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