Marcel Siem is the latest player to fall foul of rules officials this week when he quit the Open de France
The weird rules breaches just keep on coming. In a week that’s seen Jesper Parnevik sanctioned after tapping in a putt that hit his foot, and Lee Ann Walker given 58 shots for using her caddie to line her up at the Senior LPGA Championship, the reason for Marcel Siem’s disqualification at the Open de France isn’t at all out of place.
The German was 1-over-par after nine holes of his first round at Le Golf National, in Paris, when he learned he would receive 10 penalty strokes because he had mistakenly believed preferred lies were in operation in the damp conditions at the Ryder Cup venue.
Siem was in breach of Rule 14.7a, which is playing a ball from a wrong place.
That comes with a two-stroke cost and, because the rule was breached on five occasions, he would have incurred a separate penalty for each under Rule 1.3c (4).
After learning his fate, he disqualified himself from the tournament he won back in 2012. He then took to Facebook to say:
For those who don’t speak German, the translation is very roughly:
“Suitably to the whole season I have now even better laid on the fairway and the whole 5 times. Then of course I played the ball from the wrong place and got 10 penalty shots. That was a little too much for me and I disqualified myself. I thought to myself, I owe you the explanation.
“Now I will meticulously prepare myself for the Qualifying School in November to get the full tour card back so that we can finally move forward again. Thanks for the cheering and keeping your fingers crossed. Soon it will bring something again, I promise! I’ll be back.”
Officially, the European Tour said he was disqualified for “failure to complete a hole” having not completed his round.
Preferred lies are part of what are more colloquially known as ‘winter rules’, which are designed to help fair play and protect the fairway. There are two Local Rules relevant to committees, or tournament organisers, outlined in the R&A Official Guide to the Rules of Golf.
Model E-2 covers cleaning the ball and E-3 covers preferred lies. E-2 is designed to be used when wet ground conditions throughout the course cause mud to stick to the ball and means the committee can allow the player to “lift, clean and replace the ball in the general area”.
E-3 allows players to take free relief “when a player’s ball lies in a part of the general area cut to fairway height or less”.
In E-2, a player must replace the ball on its original spot. With E-3, a reference point and relief area, as well as the size of relief is established.