Jason Millard disqualified himself after reporting a self-imposed penalty to the USGA on Saturday, following Monday’s U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying in Memphis, where he punched his ticket to Pinehurst No. 2.
“We commend Jason for bringing this matter to our attention,” said Daniel B. Burton, USGA vice president and chairman of the Championship Committee. “At this time, we have no recourse but to disqualify him under the Rules of Golf and specifically Rule 34-1b.”
Millard, who posted consecutive rounds of 68, was playing his third shot on the 18th, his 27th hole of the day, at Colonial Country Club, when the penalty occurred — he accidentally grounded his club in the bunker, or at least he thinks he did.
“I’m pretty sure I grounded my club in the bunker,” said Millard, who played in this year’s PGA Tour Honda Classic and was a two-time All-American at Middle Tennessee State University. “I didn’t see anything for sure but I felt something and I saw a small indentation. It happened so fast, I really don’t know 100 percent but deep down, I believe I did. I couldn’t find peace about it. For five days, I practiced and I couldn’t get it off my mind.
“It’s heart-breaking but what I was feeling in my heart didn’t feel right. It’s the right decision and I am sticking with it.”
Tough call to make, but probably the right one. (This is about that time where I say, THIS IS WHY GOLF IS SO GREAT, except I’m not going to do that.) Only thing is it took him nearly six days to do it, but hey, I guess at least he ended up doing the classy thing, especially since it sounds like it was eating him up inside.
The lucky recipient of Millard’s mistake? Sam Love of Trussville, Ala. will replace Millard in the U.S. Open next week. Love was the second alternate at the same qualifying site — Scott Langley, the first alternate, was already tapped to replace Richard Sterne, who withdrew earlier this week.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m telling you, those alternate positions are important! Love, who shot 68-69 in the Sectional Qualifier, recently completed his senior season at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. This will be his first start at the U.S. Open.
(Copyright USGA/Joe Murphy)