Sneak Peek: This story will appear in the Feb. 4 edition of Global Golf Post.
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA | Even after sleeping on it, Denny McCarthy and his caddie, Derek Smith, couldn’t let it go. At least not completely.
A day after McCarthy was penalized two strokes for taking practice swings with Smith standing behind him, he still believed he was innocent. He had never intended for Smith to help him aim his approach shot to the par-5 15th hole during Friday’s second round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open because Smith has never helped his boss aim under any circumstance in the two years they have worked together. And besides, McCarthy stepped away after his initial practice swings, totally resetting as Smith stood to the side.
If McCarthy was somehow guilty, he felt other players at the Phoenix Open were, too.
“I called a rules official over this morning and showed him a couple videos people sent me of other players doing exactly the same thing and I was trying to figure out what the difference was basically,” McCarthy said. “And he said there was no difference. They just missed it.”
That struggle in interpretation led to one of the most bizarre rules sequences the game has ever witnessed: The PGA Tour retroactively rescinded McCarthy’s two-stroke penalty Saturday, essentially conceding that the newly implemented caddie alignment rule, as it is written, is a dud. The intent is fine. The wording is shortsighted.
The Tour will be eternally grateful that McCa...
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