Here’s a wild one and it involves Harold Varner III (a fellow ECU Pirate) cracking his driver-head on the range Thursday before his first round at The Players.
Varner informed officials that he intended to have the club replaced, which is allowed by the rules. Now here’s where it gets testy. He made the huge mistake of bringing the shaft to the first tee with him. In his case, the shaft was easily removed from the damaged club head, some simply unscrew. He intended to leave the shaft there at the first tee where his agent could retrieve it and take it to have a new head installed.
What Varner didn’t know is that one of those lady scorekeepers, you know the ones with the clipboard who follow the groups and report to the scores to the electronic board-keepers, thought she’d do Harold a favor and bring the shaft that she apparently thought he forgot to take with him.
And that proved costly.
By the time Varner’s agent arrived with the new driver-head, Varner was on his second hole of the day, the par five 11th. Unfortunately, the club was put back together there and that’s a rules violation. The club can be replaced, but NOT re-assembled on a hole during the course of play. Varner’s par became a double thanks to the two-shot penalty and his even par round of 72 became 74 and instead of a tie for 70th, he was tied for 104th.
Tour rules VP Mark Russell said this:
“Harold was trying not to do anything wrong. It’s just a situation where the lady scorer, I don’t know what the situation was, if she thought she was doing something nice or something,” Russell said. “But when they were aware of that, there are very strict rules that you can’t basically alter the golf clubs, the components on the golf course during the round.”
So first, said female scorer goes into the Dog House and we have to send Harold in there too — you HAVE TO KNOW THE RULES of the game you play for a living!