Jul
30
2010
The Wrongful DQing of Sarah Brown Confidentially Settled
By Stephanie Wei under General

By now you’ve probably heard about Sarah Brown’s unjust DQ at the Duramed Futures Tour’s The International at Concord last week, where she was a victim of some unnamed hating tipster, a power-hungry rules official and the confusion over conforming vs. non-conforming grooves. After some back-and-forth, Brown and the Tour have reached a confidential settlement.

Let’s quickly recap the precipitating events. When a rules official disrupted play of Brown and her playing partners in the middle of their round, he incorrectly determined her grooves were illegal. The Browns contested and PING found that Sarah’s wedge was conforming. She was three-under for the tournament at the time and in position to notch the best finish on tour.

The Future Tour originally offered her $2,000 compensation for the bad ruling, but the Browns turned it down. From Sean Martin’s report, Keith Brown, Sarah’s father, countered it with the following:

• $5,638, the amount Sarah Brown would’ve earned had she finished The International at Concord at 8-under 208. She was 3 under par for the event when she was removed from the golf course with nine holes remaining.

• A waiver of the entry fee to 2010 LPGA Q-School, a $5,000 value. Brown advanced to the finals last year, finishing 84th.

• An annual seminar for Duramed Futures Tour rules officials outlining how to handle difficult situations, and a rule that would not allow players to be disqualified mid-round for grooves violations.

I laughed when I read the last one — because it would be appropriately tedious and painful yet probably deservedly necessary.

My initial thoughts on the entire situation? Who was the anonymous wench that informed a rules official Sarah might have been using non-conforming grooves? This type of crap only happens with chicks. It drives me crazy. I mean, we don’t hear about guys going out of their way to start a witch hunt with their competitors.

Secondly, the rules official should be drawn and quartered for confronting Sarah in the middle of her round and pulling her off the course, particularly because the assessment of grooves is known to be dubious. The official should have waited until she was finished playing to question her, which would have allowed a more thorough examination of the club and saved all parties from humiliation. Her playing partners also indirectly suffered by the interference with the flow of play.

The whole situation sucks. Hopefully the confidential settlement puts it to rest, but why do I have the feeling this isn’t the last we hear about the case?

[Photo via Golfweek]