Imagine Golf Blogs

Poulter mistake leads to questions

Golf's integrity remains in tact

Posted Nov 29, 2010 by Jeff Dawson

Ian Poulter

Whilst the integrity of many sports is questioned on a regular basis, there is one sport that continues to be a shining light for good sportsmanship and that is golf.
It is rare that is a sport where such vast amounts of money are on offer that you don’t find more people cheating and trying to get away with breaching the rules.
A game and a sport for gentlemen, golf continues to lead where only others could dream to follow. And that was highlighted at the Dubai World Championships where Ian Poulter was penalised for an error and lost out on 23 world-ranking points, a big trophy and approximately $400,000.
The Englishman was docked a shot on the second play-off hole after he dropped his ball on his marker, leaving Robert Karlsson to win the title. Poulter’s marker moved and he was penalised as Karlsson holed a four-foot birdie to secure his victory.
Poulter, who moved up to eighth in the world rankings following this performance, said afterwards: “It’s a strange rule because if I had dropped the ball on the middle of the marker and it had not moved there’s no penalty. But I should not drop my ball on it. It’s been my lucky marker since the start of the year and has got my kids’ names on. There are always positives, but right now I’m not seeing them.”
This was an anti-climatic end to what had been a brilliant tournament in Dubai and a fantastic conclusion to one of the greatest European Tour seasons ever.
Golf has long been criticised for it’s rules that seem out of touch with modern day sport and although on occasions it does seem silly to penalise players for incidents like this, the rules are the rules and they are what makes this game such a fantastic game.
All the players know that the rules are there and need to be adhered to so it doesn’t really make any difference when people question it. And they only ever get questioned when human error costs the players.
These rules are the backbone of a sport that has been enjoyed by many for several decades now and they are there to protect the field from cheats. The language has to be clear so there is no room for argument.
If this rule, and others for that matter weren’t in place, there would be nothing stopping players ’accidentally’ dropping the ball on the marker in a bid to move it closer to the hole.
Although golf can appear in the dark ages, I think the rules it has in place make it such a fantastic sport as it doesn’t allow for players to manipulate the rules to gain an advantage. Now how many other sports can say the same?

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