2016 has seen its fair share of rules controversies, including the farcical Dustin Johnson incident at Oakmont. We look back at some of the most infamous rules decisions in golf.


2016 has seen its fair share of rules controversies, including the farcical Dustin Johnson incident at Oakmont. We look back at some of the most infamous rules decisions in golf.

Mark Roe- 2003 Open Championship

After a mix-up of cards in the 2003 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, two players were disqualified for marking their own cards – violation of Rule 6d. One of them was Mark Roe who was laying just three shots off the lead at the time. Obviously disappointed Roe said, “I've just played one of the greatest rounds of my life and I can't play tomorrow".

Jackie Pung, 1957 U.S. Women's Open


The heartbreak of Roberto De Vicenzo, who missed out on a play-off for the Green Jacket after incorrectly signing for the wrong score, is a tale oft told. Less well known is the story of Jackie Pung (pictured below on the left) who appeared to have clinched the 1957 U.S. Women's Open at Winged Foot by a stroke from Betsy Rawls, only to be disqualified for recording a five instead of a six on the fourth hole of the final round. The members of Winged Foot and USGA officials were so aggrieved by the situation that they took up a collection and presented Pung with more than $2,000, a sum that exceeded the first-prize winnings.

Craig Stadler- 1987 Andy Williams Open

In 1987 Craig ‘The Walrus’ Stadler, playing in the Andy Williams Open at Torrey Pines, went to the scorer’s tent believing he’d just finished in second place. However, on the 14th hole the previous day his ball landed in some mud up against a pine tree. He needed to play his next shot from a kneeling position and, because he didn’t want to get his trousers dirty, used a towel to kneel on while making the shot. An eagle-eyed viewer watching highlights the next day reported what he’d seen and it was deemed that Stadler had violated Rule 13-3 “Building a stance” which incurred a two-shot penalty. Stadler was disqualified and lost his share of second place – some $37,333.

Padraig Harrington- 2011 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Playing in the 2011 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Padraig Harrington was disqualified for innocently signing for an incorrect score of 65 thereby violating Rule 6-6a (signing for an incorrect score). On day two a TV reporter had spotted an infraction of the Rule 20-3a (Placing and Replacing the ball By Whom and Where). Replays demonstrated that Harrington’s hand had brushed the back of his ball on the 7th green as he replaced it in front of his marker. Despite the ball moving only about 2mm, the slow motion replay showed that it didn’t return to its original position. Harrington remarked, “In slow motion it's pretty clear the ball has moved three dimples forward and it's come back maybe a dimple and a half.”

Annika Sorenstam and Kelly Robbins- 2000 Solheim Cup


Last year's controversial incident between Suzann Pettersen and Alison Lee was not the first time a player has been reduced to tears during a Solheim Cup tie. In 2000 during a Saturday afternoon fourball match at Loch Lomond, then world number two Annika Sorenstam appeared to have closed a one-hole deficit against the American pairing of Kelly Robbins and Pat Hurst after chipping in from off the green. Robbins had other ideas however and after consulting with the referee ordered that the Swede's shot be retaken. Whilst the rules dictate that in matchplay, an opponent can force a player to take their shot again for playing out of turn, Team Europe were angered by what they branded an "unsporting" decision.

Whilst the Europeans would lose the match 2 & 1, the team would recover to claim the Cup for only the second time in their history.

Paul Trow Samples The Best Of What Lisbon Has To Offer. Read More