Should the PGA Tour be tougher on players breaking the rules?January 15, 2019 The Scoop
Ian Poulter effectively bought his way out of punishment, but was the PGA Tour too lenient? Steve Carroll and Alex Perry lock horns in Alternate Shot
The PGA Tour has a new(ish) rule in place that says if a player doesn’t enter 25 tournaments in a season, then they must play at least one that they’ve never played before.
If the rule is broken, the PGA Tour say that commissioner Jay Monahan’s decision is final and details of any punishment are not made public.
Jordan Spieth and and Ian Poulter both fell foul of this rule last year. The former’s punishment was never revealed, but he did play in the Shriner’s Hospital for Children Open and Mayakoba Classic for the first time at the end of last year. Read into that what you will.
Poulter, meanwhile, was rather public about his so-called punishment after pulling out of the Wyndham Championship, which involved a few days in Hawaii and hosting some special guests of Wyndham.
So should the PGA Tour come down a bit harder on those flagrantly breaking their rules? Steve Carroll and Alex Perry differ in opinion…
Yes, says Steve Carroll
I wish I could get out of trouble as easily as this. I’m something of a stickler for the rules so the way this has been circumvented troubles me a little.
There’s a reason why the PGA Tour requires players to compete in a certain number of tournaments. There’s also a reason why they are asked to add an event they haven’t played in the last four years if they can’t achieve that.
It’s to try and ensure that a sprinkling of the game’s top stars are present each and every week on tour.
Poulter knew this rule was in place. And he knew, once he won the Houston Open, he wasn’t going to attend the banker he’d put in place to stay on the right side of the authorities.
I actually applaud the Englishman for the way he went about tackling the problem.
A round and a tour of his Ferraris was an inventive solution to what might have been a tricky public relations exercise had it come out under different circumstances.
But that he could do it in the first place does send the wider message that you can bend the regulations – that there is a way around this rule. If you can do that, what’s the point of the rule in the first place?
Because the PGA Tour is so secretive when it comes to the subject of player discipline, it also rather begs the question of what else you can negotiate if you’ve committed a misdemeanour?
I’d prefer the rules to be applied, the punishments to be set out and published, and everyone to know where they stand.
No, says Alex Perry
So it looks like both Spieth and Poulter have dodged a fine or, even worse, a ban by agreeing to play in extra tournaments over the fall. In Spieth’s case it was the Shriner’s and Mayakoba, while Poulter was “punished” with a few days in Hawaii as well as showing off his cars to a few VIPs.
Talk about hard done by.
I understand why this rule is in place, and it makes sense. But is breaking it really worth anything more than a slap on the wrist?
They haven’t cheated. They haven’t been caught doping. They haven’t broken betting rules. They’ve just not played enough events.
Sure, these rules are there for a reason and if the PGA Tour can’t be seen to be too soft on players, but both Spieth and Poulter have agreed to make it up to the PGA Tour and that should be enough.
If either Spieth or Poulter were banned, we’d be sitting here discussing whether or not it was too harsh.
For me, it’s been dealt with in a sensible and professional manner.
I’d be interested in knowing if those people Poulter invited to his home in Florida were genuinely deserving of the money-can’t-buy experience, or if they were just a bunch of rich people doing things only rich people can.
I’m never going to criticise Poulter on this front because the man does so much for charity causes – but in a wider perspective, wouldn’t it be nice if players breaking this rule were then made to help out with charitable causes?