Shad Tuten has opened up about the heart-breaking turn of events that led to him losing the chance to play on the PGA Tour via a rules breach
Shad Tuten already had cause for concern before his PGA Tour card was agonisingly grabbed from his grasp.
His wife told him their son had been taken to hospital with a fever after Tuten had a fast start at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship.
He told the Any Given Monday podcast that his son has “healed up” since the week he declared he “will never forget.”
The 31-year-old was given a two-shot penalty on hole 15 in the final round for breaching a local rule concerning lift, clean and place.
This sanction took his score out of the top 30 on the leaderboard that earned tour cards, when it seemed his dream was about to be realised.
“It was an extremely traumatic ordeal for me and my family,” he told Any Given Monday.
“The place where we had to sign the scorecards was on the second level of the clubhouse and when you come out of the clubhouse out of scoring, it’s on this deck.
“The hardest part about the entire deal was standing on that porch and seeing the 30 to 40 people that were coming up to congratulate me and having to break the news to them.
“I was the one that had to tell my family and my wife and my mum and dad who’d driven 12 hours to come and see me play, and for it to end like this.”
Shad Tuten was assessed a two-stroke penalty on hole No. 15 under preferred lies local rule E-3, turning a 2-over 74 into a 4-over 76. Tuten also fell from projected No. 30 on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List to No. 32.— Korn Ferry Tour (@KornFerryTour) October 8, 2023
Chief referee Jim Duncan provided context on the ruling. pic.twitter.com/a5qXcqJLFC
“I don’t really now how to put it into words. I feel like something was stolen from me. People can steal from you, but this is something I’ve worked for my whole life and the problem with it is, I feel like I did everything the correct way.
“For my year to get spoiled in the way that it went down, especially the way that it did, it was absolutely the most traumatic experience of my life.”
Something was up when a rules official approached Tuten for the first time on the 17th hole at Victoria National Golf Club.
He was unaware of any issue at this stage, and this was still the case when the same official approached again on the 18th tee box.
“Respectfully, this can wait,” he said as he limbered up at a critical point in his round in pursuit of the promised land.
After carding what he thought was two-over-par, he was pulled in by the official to whom he explained what he did with the drop on the 15th, a deliberation he estimated was 20 to 25 minutes long.
Tuten felt the penalty was “already determined” before he spoke to the official.
“They said, ‘You need to tell me exactly what you did in the fairway’, and at that moment, I knew that anything that I do or say right now would affect the outcome of my tournament.
“It was a subconscious thing and I didn’t know it at the time, I definitely felt something was weird about it.”
“What really bothered me about the situation was, there was no one else in there with me. That was the problem. Your playing competitors are supposed to be in the room with you because they’re supposed to actually police the group.
“I’m not the one that’s going to call it on myself if I didn’t think I did anything wrong. The rules official basically forced me to call it on myself, and that’s not the way it’s supposed to be.
“You’re supposed to have someone who’s a third party, like a witness, that was there to actually make the call.”
The Georgia-born pro maintained he “did exactly what he thought he should do” with the drop, but ultimately paid the price for a decision he says was only a matter of centimetres.
After turning professional in 2015, he will have to wait a little longer to make his debut on the PGA Tour.
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