A lot of us can see a problem with the recent disqualifications caused by viewers phoning in when they see a rules violation. While this has gone on for years, it seems recently the numbers are going up, and the players are getting kicked out on a more consistent basis.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem spoke his thoughts on the matter, and it seems that Finchem is on the side of the fans, but thinks, like we do, that tweaking the consequences might be the best move.
"We like the fact that people call in. We like the fact people who watch the telecasts get excited about something they see," Finchem said.
"We don't want to turn those people off. We want to accept the information and deal with it. Cutting them off is not an option. It is just a question of how the rule is applied."
Maybe I'm reading between the lines here, but it seems that Finchem is agreeing with one of our plans here at Devil Ball: allow callers to phone in, but lessen the penalty on the player if he/she has already signed their respective scorecard.
Currently, if a player walks off the golf course having signed their card, and later a phone calls points out a mistake, the player is disqualified. I think any rational person can agree that such extreme circumstances aren't exactly fair, and that penalizing them without evicting them from the tournament is the right way to go.
Finchem went on to say, "I am cautiously optimistic we'll get to some modifications that will just create a better system," which seems to suggest leaning towards a system of wrist slapping, not jail doors slamming.
The bottom line here is, the rules of golf can be frustrating a lot of times, but they don't have to be. We, as in golfers, the USGA, Finchem and the players, can agree to figure out a way to make the Rules of Golf (capitalized like you would the Ten Commandments, as they seem to be to this game) evolve as the game evolves. We have more coverage everywhere, with better televisions and more people watching all over the world. We have cameras on all the holes, and tape delays that might bring up something that seemed fishy.
The game of golf never changes, but the rules certainly can. Hopefully, Finchem and the USGA can work together to round the edges here so the game can be played more fairly, and people at home can still be involved.