Former Solheim Cup star Christina Kim is at the centre of golf’s latest rules furore, after calling a penalty on her playing partners during last week’s LPGA Q-Series.
The incident happened on the par-3 17th at Pinehurst during Round 6 of the qualifying event.
Kim hit first. Dewi Weber went next. As she addressed her ball, the third player in the group, Kendall Dye, signalled to Weber’s caddie to ask if she was hitting an 8-iron. Jacqueline Schram, on Weber’s bag, motioned back to confirm.
That was a violation of Rule 10-2, which states that a player cannot ask for advice from a fellow player or caddie. Players can look in opponents’ bags to ascertain which club they are hitting but they may not, for example, move a towel if it is draped over the bag.
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It was initially reported that Kim waited until the end of the round, ten holes later, to inform her partners that they had breached the rule. However, she later clarified, saying that she had contacted an official as soon as they had finished the hole to see if the rule was still in effect.
Weber was unaware of what had happened but, nonetheless, was hit with a two-shot penalty because of her caddie’s intervention. Dye, too, was docked two shots.
Kim subsequently spent much of the weekend discussing – and defending – her actions on social media.
Quick PSA-if you’re a golfer, please read and know the rules. PLEASE!!!— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) November 1, 2019
Ohhhh don’t worry barb! You won’t. There isn’t much to discuss here. Only lessons hard taught that suck to learn. I’m not here to drag other people. I’m just sending love and a friendly reminder that if you do a job, know the rules please! Less potential for heartbreak. https://t.co/FSL7Bt4iqd— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) November 1, 2019
This includes rules officials (don’t ask me how I know this needs to include them), caddies, coaches, parents of competitive players, pretty much anyone involved in this wondrous game that we are so fortunate to play. https://t.co/Mvq84KBV5K— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) November 1, 2019
Im sorry that you feel that way, but it’s precisely that. An UNWRITTEN, aka nonexistent, rule. I abide by the ones that ARE written. If it’s such a nonissue, why don’t the governing bodies make amendments to thAat rule? And I’m happy to know I’m in that 1%. Sorry not sorry. https://t.co/ntEv5tQFfl— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) November 1, 2019
You’re telling me. Took me a long time to come to terms with being ok with it. But the more I thought about it, the fear of losing a friend gave way to irritation that more people don’t know the rules. It hurt a lot for everyone involved, myself included. I just chose to refrain https://t.co/mSJmKoPN7W— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) November 1, 2019
All of this was not meant to be blown out of proportion. I was merely trying to send a gentle reminder that the rules are put in place to keep everyone accountable and to enjoy this game we are fortunate enough to play and love. We don’t have to keep hashing it out.— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) November 1, 2019
There was a way this could have been avoided-know the rules. ABSOLUTELY NO ONE was trying to cheat. Without rules and laws we fall into chaos. It’s our duty as golfers to know them. There was nothing but love and compassion in this whole ordeal. IT SUCKED FOR ALL INVOLVED, ME TOO— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) November 1, 2019
Whilst Kim went on to secure her LPGA playing privileges through the event, there was no such luck for Dye and Weber, both of whom failed to get the top-45 finish they needed. Dye missed out by four shots and Weber by nine.
Dye has since taken to Twitter to give her version of events. She takes responsibility for breaking the rule, albeit unknowingly, but criticised Kim for her handling of the matter.