The latest rules controversy involves Team USA’s disqualification for a player scorecard mix-up at premier amateur championship


There will come a week when golf is free of controversy. And when that time comes, there will be much rejoicing.

But it will not be this week.

The latest snafu, involving—you guessed it—a rules infraction, happened at the Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship. The biennial competition, a 54-hole four-ball comprised of 19 countries represented by teams of four (two men and two women), began on Thursday at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity, Tex. But for the USA Women’s Team, the event proved short-lived.

On the par-3 third, University of Texas product Kaitlyn Papp recorded a birdie for the Americans. Unfortunately, when the team turned in its scorecard, it reflected that Emilia Migliaccio, a junior at Wake Forest, made the 2. This is problematic: According to Rule 23.2b, which applies to four-ball stroke play:

Each score on the scorecard must be clearly identified as the score of the individual partner who made it; if this is not done, the side is disqualified.

The error, which was self-reported by the U.S., led to a team disqualification.

“Playing within the Rules is at the core of The Spirit and its competitors,” said Stacy Lewis, captain of the United States. “While Team USA is certainly disappointed, they understand the implications. The fact that Emilia and Kaitlyn want to continue to play without being in contention for the championship shows their true spirit, integrity and love of this great game.”

While the women were eliminated, the men—represented by U.S. Amateur champ Andy Olgetree and Walker Cup member Cole Hammer—will continue to compete in the team and individual events. The Americans combined for a six-under 66 in Round 1, three back of Team France.

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