Controversy surrounds Scottish Amateur match

2015 07 Kurt
• Controversy surrounded an opening round match at Muirfield
• Kurt Yule believed he'd progressed after agreeing with opponent
• Niall McMullen couldn't play in Wednesday's second round


Controversy surrounded an opening round match of the Scottish Amateur Championship this week after one player was eliminated from the competition, despite agreeing with his opponent that he had won.

The match between Kurt Yule and Niall McMullen was all square heading down the 18th at Muirfield, with Yule and his caddie allegedly told by his opponent that it ‘didn’t matter’ what happened on the last hole as McMullen couldn’t play in the second round on Wednesday because he had an interview about gaining an American visa.

McMullen, a member of the SGU Boys' Squad, went on to par the hole to ‘win’ 1UP after Yule made bogey, only for the scoreline on the SGU website to suggest that it was Yule that had won 1UP, as had been agreed by the players.
"They brought the rule book out and said we should’ve shook hands on the 17th green" - Kurt Yule

However, before his second round match against Alex Main on Wednesday morning, Englishman Yule, 21, who qualified for the event through his Scottish grandparents, was called in to speak to SGU officials before being told he couldn’t play.

“I’m pretty annoyed,” Yule, who plays out of Goswick GC in Northumberland, exclusively told “I had taken another day off work and travelled up early with every intention that I’d be playing in the second round, but as soon as I arrived I was asked to explain what had happened in the match.



“They brought the rule book out and said we should’ve shook hands on the 17th green but because we went down the 18th, it meant he won. I went to the driving range for a bit while they discussed the outcome before they came back out to say I couldn’t play and had to head home.”

The SGU’s suspicion into the result was allegedly triggered after a Facebook status from McMullen’s father, Peter, on Monday night was brought to their attention.

The status read:

Peter McMullen FB

“I’m disappointed because I took my foot off the gas coming down the 18th, both of us did, and obviously I would’ve taken it more seriously had I known that it still mattered,” Yule added. “I also felt sorry for the guy who I was meant to be playing in the second round as he was on the range at 7am on Wednesday morning, only to find out that he wouldn’t be playing until 3pm. That probably threw him off as I saw he went on to get beat.”



In response to the match situation, the SGU released the following statement:

“It was a clear cut case. The match was not conceded prior to ending and therefore, under decision 2-4/19 in The R&A’s Decisions On The Rules of Golf 2014-15:

‘Q: In match play, A defeats B and then concedes the match to B because he (A) cannot continue in the competition. Is this permissible?

A: No. A won the match. A beaten player may not be reinstated in such circumstances. A should be posted as the winner and, since A cannot continue, A’s opponent in the next round would win by default.

Under Rule 2-4, a side may concede a match at any time prior to conclusion of the match, but not thereafter.’

“Kurt Yule was initially posted on our online scoring as winning by one hole in the first round on Monday (July 27), as it was reported to the championship office with no further information. As soon the facts became fully available, this was changed to a win for Niall McMullen, in accordance with the above rule, and therefore Alex Main received a walkover into the third round.

“Niall McMullen should not have competed in the Scottish Amateur Championship this week, knowing he was unavailable to play on Wednesday (July 29), and should have informed us before the event began on Monday. We will speak with the player further regarding this matter.”

Scottish Amateur Championship controversy :: Your thoughts

What do you make of this story? Has Yule been hard done to? Was it ‘great sportsmanship’? Should they have been more aware of the rules? Leave your thoughts below.

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