March 9, 2012
March 1 is the traditional starting date for high school spring sports in Delaware. A large crowd of Cape Henlopen kids showed up that day at Rehoboth Beach Country Club, for their first practice session in hopes of playing for the 2012 Viking golf team.
Claudio Smarrelli has returned as Cape’s head golf coach, after a one-year hiatus from his prior long tenure in the position. Smarrelli sent an email noting the size of the initial group from which he will make his selections for the varsity line-up. It includes eleven freshman, five sophomores, seven juniors, and seven seniors, including a French exchange student.
Smarrelli has a few more days to receive all of the necessary papers for players’ participation in Henlopen Conference sports, and the first week is always a bit tentative in deciding who has come out for the sport and is likely to stay. In an upcoming column, the Viking team members will be introduced.
More fun from the USGA
In a past column I recommended a new video instruction series begun by the United States Golf Association. The first such installment dealt with loose impediments. The USGA’s second such video instructional has just been released.
It explains how to handle recoveries from shots that land in water hazards, whether of the regular (yellow staked) variety, or lateral hazards (red staked). I expect Coach Smarrelli will take advantage of these handy golf lessons, and have his Viking squad members watch them. The rest of us Cape Region golfers would also benefit from these useful videos. To see for yourself, go to http://www.usga-rules.com/Rule26.html.
Rules issues show off the best in golfers—or not
Two recent Rulings of the Day at the USGA website give a potentially useful insight into the potential character of those who play this game—and not necessarily in a good way, at that.
The first one dealt with a water hazard issue in which someone screwed up before anyone teed off. The stakes defining the margin of the hazard were put in the wrong places, such that an area that was obviously part of the water hazard was “outside the stakes.”
Naturally, a player’s golf ball entered the water in the spot outside the stakes, and “technically” outside the hazard. The golfer claimed that his ball was therefore lying in casual water, entitling him to relief without any penalty.
As one would hope, both logic and ethics prevailed.
While the club’s competition committee made the first mistake by not placing the hazard stakes correctly, the players in the competition are not allowed to compound that error by relying upon it.
In this case, the ball was clearly in the actual water hazard, and the casual water claim was turned aside.
I was going to write that this player’s argument didn’t hold water, but that would be wrong, on several levels.
Sometimes these knotty rules problems call for analysis of one’s views about obedience and orneryness.
In a stroke play event, players A, B, and C were to play at 9 a.m. sharp. Players A and B jumped the gun a little bit, however, with A starting at 8:58 and B starting at 8:59.
The usual penalty for failing to start at the scheduled time is disqualification, under Rule 6. Nonetheless, the penalty for starting five minutes later than scheduled is two strokes.
The USGA recommends taking an additional step before deciding which way to rule. If the players “ignored a direct instruction from the Committee” not to start before 9 a.m., then they should be disqualified.
That’s for not following the rule, and for being ornery.
If there’s no evidence of such direct disobedience, however, the Committee should go with the lighter, two stroke penalty, instead of disqualification.
This puts inadvertent early starts on the same level as being a bit late, which seems fair.