TULSA, Okla. - A rules infraction cost two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen a berth in the final two rounds of the 101st Open at Southern Hills Country Club.
A two-stroke penalty moved Janzen from 5 over to 7 over and caused him to miss the cut.
The violation occurred at 7 o'clock Friday morning when Janzen returned to the course to complete first-round play that was suspended on Thursday because of weather.
He reportedly used a towel to absorb moisture from the fairway before replacing his ball to resume play.
That violated several rules of golf, including Decision 6-8d/1, which deals with resumption of play and states: “Natural causes such as wind, rain and water may change the conditions at the spot where the ball is to be replaced and the player must accept these conditions, whether they worsen or improve the lie of the ball.”
Strangely, the two-stroke penalty was not assessed until early yesterday morning, by which time Janzen had completed 36 holes. His first-round score was changed from a 75 to a 77.
“Ordinarily, when a player fails to include a penalty and signs for a lower score than should have been recorded, the result is disqualification,” said Reed Mackenzie, USGA vice president and chairman of the Rules Committee. “But since (a) committeeman observed the violation and failed to notify the player of the penalty, the penalty of disqualification is waived. However, the penalty strokes must still be added to his score.”
As a result, Janzen's score was adjusted to a 7-over 147, one shot off the cut.
The USGA did not indicate why Janzen was not notified of a first-round rules infraction until just before the start of the third round. Janzen could not be located for comment.
EYE OF TIGER: Defending champion Tiger Woods, 5 over after 36 holes, got one of those shots back with a 1-under 69 yesterday and felt much better about his game.
“I hit a lot of good shots,” he said. “And I made some beautiful putts that just grazed the edge. The greens are drying out, getting speedier and more severe. If I'd made a few more it could have been a real good one. It could have very easily been four or five shots lower.”
Woods refuses to fold his hand in the 101st Open, saying that anybody within 10 shots of the lead has a chance going into the final round.
If a fifth straight major championship doesn't materialize, Woods says it won't be due to lack of effort.
“You really can't be too disappointed if you try as hard as you can,” he said. “I play to win and I always try my best, so I have no regrets, whatever the outcome.”
OLD COLLEGE TRY: Amateur Bryce Molder, one of the most dominant college golfers over the past several years while at Georgia Tech, will delay any decision about a professional career until after the U.S. Amateur in late August. But a 2-under 68 in yesterday's third round of the Open provided a big confidence boost.
“It feels good,” he said. “I think it reinstates in my mind how I feel about myself as a golfer coming out of college. I feel like I can play on this level. I'm not there yet; I've got some work to do. But I feel that when I really play well I can play with any of the guys out here.”
Molder was 8 over par after 27 holes, but has been a different golfer since and rests at 4-over 214 after three rounds.
“Starting out, I was definitely very nervous and a little unsure about the surroundings. It is tough to really get comfortable out here. Once I did, I was able to find a swing that helped me hit the ball well off the tee.”