October 10, 2011
Bryce Molder won the Frys.com Open in dramatic fashion on Sunday, taking the tournament from Briny Baird with a birdie on the sixth playoff hole. But just before he putted, he tapped down the surface of the green between his ball and the cup with his putter ... as you cannot see in this video:
Check the jump-cut right at the start of that video. Molder is walking around, and suddenly he's standing over the putt. The section clipped out of the video features him tapping at the ground with his club ... which may or may not be a two-stroke violation that could have given Baird the win.
The key is whether Molder was repairing a ball mark, which is legal, or tamping down the green in his path, which is not. Now, Molder had been repairing ball marks all throughout the tournament, and after a full day of play, there were ball marks all over the 18th green. So it's entirely possible that this was one more ball mark that he'd repaired before and he was just finishing the job. Still, it looked a touch strange, and the way the PGA Tour has edited out the segment of the video there and also right here only adds to the suspicion.
Bottom line, Molder won the tournament. He's a standup guy with no history of gray-area behavior. And it'd have to be an official with cojones of titanium to call that penalty after that putt. But still, have we learned nothing from Dustin Johnson and the PGA Championship in 2010? Badger the rules officials with every question imaginable; don't leave anything to the whims of rules judges.