As the golf world geared up Wednesday for Tiger Woods’ latest return, a rules brouhaha in the Bahamas prompted a fired Web.com Tour caddie to film an impassioned defense of his actions on the 72nd hole of the tour’s Great Abaco Classic, which cost his player, Rhein Gibson, a one-stroke penalty and a tie for second place.
Gibson, a 31-year-old Aussie, threw his putter cover at caddie Brandon Davis after Davis’ decision to lift Gibson’s ball out of a hazard near the 18th green resulted in officials assessing Gibson a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2. Gibson fired Davis following the incident, according to the caddie, though the player later apologized via Twitter.
Unfortunately my caddy was involved with a ruling on the 18th that caused me to fall from t2 to 3rd. My actions were less then professional and I apologize to my caddy and those that took offense to my behaviors.
— Rhein Gibson (@RheinGibson55) January 24, 2018
In the wee hours of Thursday, Davis posted a YouTube video in which he makes a compelling case that his actions should have resulted in no penalty, according to Decision 26-1/9.
Rules of Golf, Decision 26-1/9
Q. A player’s ball lying in a water hazard is lifted by the player’s caddie without the player’s authority. What is the ruling?
A. There is no penalty under Rule 18-2 if there was no doubt or it was reasonable to assume from the player’s actions or statements that he would make his next stroke from outside the water hazard.
In such cases, any doubt should be resolved against the player.
Warning: this video shows a caddie wearing no shirt and wireless earbuds in a Bahamas hotel room while using a lamp and a tissue-box cover as props to demonstrate the ball’s position in the hazard.
In a subsequent phone interview GolfChannel.com published Thursday morning, Web.com Tour rules official Jim Duncan offered a conflicting account of the events in question and stood behind the decision to penalize Gibson.