Christina Kim had an unforgettable week at the LPGA Q School as she secured her card but that won't be how her time at Pinehurst will be remembered
As if eight rounds of trying to gain your card to the LPGA Tour wasn’t stressful enough, getting hit with a two-shot penalty for something that your caddie did – and you not even knowing anything about it until after the round – is particularly galling.
At the Q-Series at Pinehurst, an eight-round slog to secure your status for 2020, Christina Kim, Kendall Dye and Dewi Weber were playing the short 17th (their 8th) on the No.9 course.
This is then what happened..
– Kim had the honour and hit first.
– Weber was next to play and, while she was about to play, the third member of the group, Dye, ‘flashed three fingers’ at Weber’s caddie, Jacqueline Schram, to ask if it was an 8-iron? The caddie confirmed this. To add another level of bizarreness Weber pulled the wrong club, hit the 9 and came up short. She would go on to get up and down for what she thought was a par.
– Dye hit a 7-iron to 15 feet from where she would three putt.
This is what the Rules of Golf say about this type of thing; it’s an obvious breach and a two-shot penalty though the officials apparently took over an hour to call it.
But the first time Dye and Weber knew about it was after the round and for Weber it was the first she even knew what her caddie Schram had done on the 17th tee.
“I’m gutted for the other player who was over her shot, ball in air and had no idea what was going on,” said Dye. “By no means was I trying to cheat.”
“I have just seen so many caddies and people do it,” added Schram. “It was just a subtle gesture that I didn’t think twice about.”
With none of this in the public domain Kim then took to Twitter on Friday…
Quick PSA-if you’re a golfer, please read and know the rules. PLEASE!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) November 1, 2019
And so began two days of fascinating, cryptic and heartfelt tweets that are well worth a visit to Kim’s account to have a look.
To sum up she didn’t say which players were involved or even what tournament she was talking about – “This could have happened last week, last month, last year” – she insisted that she was (quite rightly) protecting the field by reporting it and that it was an innocent mistake rather than cheating but that right over wrong was the determining factor in speaking up.
“The more I thought about it, the fear of losing a friend gave way to irritation that more people don’t know the rules.”
There was also the not small matter of the rules stating that a player would be disqualified if he/she knowingly accepts a rule infraction.
But with no proper details out in the open and with 65,000 followers, and Kim’s ability to keep replying to any exchange, the Twitterati went into overdrive.
Meanwhile Weber, who would have been T27 without the penalty with 45 players getting their cards, shot 82 after a sleepless night on Saturday before closing with a 76 to blow her chances.
“It affected me way too much,” said Weber. “It shouldn’t have. That’s absolutely, 100 per cent on me.”
Dye, who eventually missed out by four shots after seeing her final tee shot end up wet, then came out on Twitter herself with a slightly different version of an apology.
“I am completely gutted for causing another innocent player two strokes during this incident which was handled and closed in a private matter. However, I am very disappointed in a fellow player’s unprofessional and public action for taking this to Twitter, to players and caddies in our field and causing a huge distraction for myself and other players during such an important event.”
As for Kim, now 35, she will be playing on next year’s LPGA Tour after tying for 24th in what will have been one of the strangest weeks of her career.