Under European Tour policy, Simon Dyson faces a disciplinary hearing over his disqualification for a rules infraction last week at the BMW Masters. Dyson, who was tied for second at the halfway mark, marked his ball on the eighth green and then briskly tapped down a spike mark that was in the line of his short par putt, violating Rule 16-1a.
Here’s video of the infraction:
A television “viewer” noticed the violation and contacted rules officials. [A bit of an aside: Again, guys, this “viewer” is obviously an insider — as in another player not in the field or a rules official not officiating that week. It’s not like there’a s hotline to reach the rules trailer. Usually it’s someone who has the phone number of an official or a person to get in touch with the right authorities.]
Dyson was disqualified because he hadn’t added the two-shot penalty for committing the infraction, and therefore, he signed an incorrect scorecard.
It cost him a paycheck and potentially qualifying for the European Tour’s finale in Dubai, but the hits keep coming. According to the Daily Telegraph, four players of the Tour’s players’ committee reviewed the incident and were said to be “outraged.”
Now, under European Tour policy, a player faces a disciplinary hearing if determined that after further examination, a serious breach may have occurred, according to the Associated Press. The hearing must happen within three weeks before a panel of an independent lawyer, sports administrator and either a former European Tour player or a European Senior Tour player.
If Dyson is found guilty of an infraction, the punishment can range from a slap on the wrist to a fine, suspension or even expulsion from the tour.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down now. Expulsion? I know that’s probably unlikely to happen, but the fact that it’s on the table seems a bit extreme. I mean, we’re talking about a guy’s livelihood here (and in all my dealings with him, he’s an extremely nice fella, not to mention rather candid, which doesn’t scream “cheater!” to me.)
I’ve reviewed the footage, and no doubt, it’s a blatant, outrageous, amateur-hour violation, but remember, we have to consider intent. In my opinion, it looked like Dyson tapped down the spike mark without thinking and almost out of habit, as if he’s done it a gazillion times — and that part is worrisome.
However, if it is something he does regularly, he’ll have developed a reputation on the Tour for “cheating.” I’ve never heard his name associated in such conversations, but I’ll do my own digging this week at the HSBCs in Shanghai.
Personally, I think he’s been punished enough and I’m fairly certain he won’t make the same mistake again. At least not when he’s in contention and the cameras are showing his every move! (Kidding.)
Here’s the statement from the Tour:
“If, following the hearing, the panel decides that a breach of the code (of behaviour) has been established, it shall impose a sanction that it considers appropriate having regard to the circumstances,” the tour said in a statement.
“Such sanctions may range from a reprimand, a censure, a fine, a suspension of Membership, a suspension from participation in one or more tournaments or for a given period, or expulsion from The European Tour, or otherwise as the panel shall determine.”
Here is Dyson’s statement:
I have been informed of the procedure being put in place by The Tour following my actions during the second round of the BMW Masters in Shanghai last week and am perfectly happy to co-operate with the investigation by the independent disciplinary panel.
I would like to say at this stage that I have never deliberately broken the rules either on this occasion or in the past. It was only after I was shown the replay of my action after marking the ball on the eighth green during the second round that I realised what I had done and that I was in breach. I immediately accepted that I should be disqualified.
My action was in no way a deliberate act with the intention of breaking the rules. It was simply an accidental mistake which I have no reservations in apologising for and particularly to my fellow professionals and The Tour for any inconvenience and embarrassment unintentionally caused.
What kind of disciplinary action do you think Dyson deserves?