When you miss your tee time at your local muni, what happens? You get a nasty look from the starter and you get shuffled back in the mix. But when you miss your tee time at a LPGA pro-am, what happens? Boom, you're disqualified from one of the season's most important tournaments.
Harsh, but that's the situation Helen Alfredsson, Shanshan Feng and Maria Hjorth (right) found themselves in Wednesday afternoon.
The way this played out was a sad little comedy of errors, real-life common sense whacking up hard against those immutable Rules of Golf. Here's how it happened. First off, Patty Sheehan was supposed to play in the Kraft Nabisco's pro-am, but not at the Kraft Nabisco itself. She missed her tee time, later saying she wasn't even aware she was supposed to be playing.
Hjorth and Alfredsson were next up, but couldn't be found. Ergo, seeya.
Feng, for her part, was just flat-out late to her tee time. She caught up to her group and played, but found out when she got back to the clubhouse that she, too, could take the next plane out of Rancho Mirage.
Hjorth responded via Twitter: "When 3 people get DQ'd for the same thing, is that not wrong." Alfredsson was said to be visibly upset and in discussions with LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan, according to The Golf Channel.
Life on Tour gives us a bit more detail on the confusion in schedules. But then there's this infuriating tidbit: "Some may think this is too severe a penalty for missing a pro-am but there is a good reason for it of which I won’t get into." What? Why not? That's like ending a Scooby Doo cartoon without revealing who was under the mask!
Anyway, while there are obviously codes of conduct here, a DQ for this kind of communication breakdown is the kind of thing that drives you insane. It's a shame that three talented players have to miss the tournament -- the LPGA could use all the good press it can get -- but it's a good bet golfers will be triple-checking their schedules from here on out.