(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) May 2, 2011 — Opinion: Pity poor Webb Simpson, whose ball moved on the 15th green at the Zurich Classic Sunday. His solution: Change the rule.
Simpson is the latest PGA Tour player who thinks the rules should be changed because — well — because enforcing them costs them money.
In this case, it’s the presumption within the Decisions of the Rules of Golf that should a ball on the green move after a player has soled or grounded his putter, the player, not the wind, is deemed to have moved the ball. Penalty: one stroke.
The situation arose on the 15th green during the final round of the Zurich and likely cost Webb the outright victory. Instead, he and Bubba Watson tied and Watson won in a playoff.
Here’s what Simpson told reporters after the round, according to the Examiner:
“The unfortunate thing and the reason I don’t think it’s a good rule is golf is supposedly the last gentleman’s game,” Simpson said. “There is so much on the player to call the penalty on themselves. When wind or other natural things affect the golf ball, the player shouldn’t be penalized.”
That’s crying shame. Is this the first time Simpson has ever played in the wind? Has he never encountered an oscillating golf ball on a putting surface?
Players in New Mexico or West Texas, and particularly anyone who has tried to play in the recently gusty conditions in these parts, know the rules about grounding your putter in the wind.
Maybe Simpson should have gone to Texas Tech instead of Wake Forest. Maybe he would have known what he was facing before he put his putter on the ground. Players ought to know how to deal with the wind. Ask any Scot: Wind is a part of the game.
What the guys on the PGA Tour don’t realize they are not the center of the golf universe.. They play golf for money, but the rules are for everyone. If they want to play by their own rules, they’re free to do so — just don’t call it golf.