Golf tournament ends with cops, controversy, possible fistfight

After 11 holes of the finals of the Florida State Golf Association’s Mid-Amateur Championship, held at the Coral Creek Club in Placida, Marc Dull began his comeback from two down to Jeff Golden. Dull squared the match at the 16th hole, and rains then delayed the match. When the skies cleared, Golden was unable to continue as a result of an “unfortunate injury,” and Dull won by default.

Nice story, but there’s an awful lot apparently left unsaid. Stick with us here; this gets deep into he-said/he-said.

Golf Channel obtained a police report which indicated that Golden claimed he’d been assaulted in the parking lot during the rain delay. More to the point, Golden claimed that Dull’s caddie, Brandon Hibbs, punched him in the face.

At issue, according to Golden, was a rules dispute on the ninth hole. Golden was about to putt, and he asked Dull about the condition of the edge of the hole.

“Don’t worry about it,” Hibbs allegedly told Golden. “If you’re going to make it, you’re going around it.”

Golden then told a rules official that what Hibbs did constituted “advice,” and the result was a loss of the hole for Dull. That gave Golden a two-hole advantage.

Hibbs apparently then went to the clubhouse while Golden and Dull played on. When the rains rolled in, the players headed back to the clubhouse as well. When Golden went to the parking lot to get some dry clothes, he claimed to police that Hibbs “approached him, apologized, then punched him on the left side of the face.” Golden told Golf Channel he believed Hibbs was angry about the ruling.

But Hibbs countered that he had remained in the clubhouse the entire time and didn’t hit Golden. There were no witnesses and no surveillance footage that backed Golden’s story. Police found no damage to Golden’s face or Hibbs’ hands, but there was “some redness on the inside of [Golden’s] lip.”

Golden claimed to have suffered “concussion symptoms,” and said he “was extremely shaken up.”

After a two-hour delay, the players were sent back to the course. It was at this point that Golden asked Dull if he was going to concede. “I said that I wasn’t going to concede,” Dull told Golf Channel. “Why would I concede the match when I was sitting in the shelter, and when I come back someone is accused of being hit?” So Golden then decided to concede, giving the match to Dull.

Golden appealed the FSGA’s decision, saying that tournament officials should not have accepted his concession. But FSGA officials said that since police found no evidence of any kind of assault taking place, there were no grounds to change the outcome of the tournament.

The moral of the story: golf’s rules are infuriating, but fighting over them is even worse.
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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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