Camilo Villegas golf swing
The man who drew some ire from the golf world after contacting the PGA Tour about an infraction by Camilo Villegas in the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Kapalua Plantation Course on Thursday explained himself Saturday.
Dave Andrews, a retiree from New Hampshire, said he was watching the tournament with some friends in Florida, where he spends his winters, when he saw Villegas move a divot on the 15th hole with his club while the ball Villegas struck was still rolling.
Villegas should have assessed a two-shot penalty, but instead signed an incorrect scorecard and was subsequently disqualified.
Andrews said he sent tweets to the PGA Tour and The Golf Channel before Villegas finished his round.
“I was hoping to at least inform somebody with the tour or The Golf Channel to make a decision, hopefully before the end of the round, so maybe if it was a penalty, he could just be given the penalty,” Andrews said via phone Saturday. “It happened on the 15th hole, though, so it was late in the round, and it probably took me 15 or 20 minutes to send the e-mail out, or actually the tweet.
“I wasn’t sure what I saw, and there was probably less than half an hour or so before Villegas could finish his round. That’s when I sent the tweets out to The Golf Channel and the PGA Tour. I doubt, though – they probably didn’t see them until after he was done.”
Of the players in the Maui field this week, Ian Poulter may have been the most outspoken critic of Andrews. Poulter posted close to a dozen tweets about what happened. Among them:
* “An armchair official tweeted in to get Camilo DQ, what is wrong with people have they got nothing better to do.”
* “Yes the rules r the rules it was a mistake on Camilo’s behalf, he didnt know he had done wrong, but people calling in, no 1 likes a snitch.”
* “Case closed yes he should have been punished but it’s a shame it wasn’t before he signed his card. Came down to an armchair official.”
Andrews said: “I wasn’t trying to be a rules official. People have criticized me saying that I was trying to do that. To be honest, I was just stunned that no one had said anything. In that regard maybe I was trying to be a rules official, but I wasn’t trying to impress myself into the tournament. My intent was good.”
Andrews said he believes the rules calling for an immediate disqualification for signing an incorrect scorecard should be loosened.
“At least extend the period until the guy tees off the next day to give him an overnight grace period so it could be raised and not disqualify him,” he said. “Not disqualifying the player for a mistake he hadn’t realized he had made.”
Ernie Els, the 2003 champion at Kapalua and currently in a tie for 13th, said after Friday’s round that something should be done to avoid the situation from happening again.
“Maybe that should be – if you sign your scorecard and somebody sees something in South Africa after we have already played and they have shown it there and the guy goes, ‘Yeah, I’ve seen a rules violation,’ and calls it in and after he signs his card, maybe because of that there should be a little thing in our rule book that says, ‘OK, even though he has signed his card, because of this call after the fact, he gets a two-shot penalty instead of being disqualified.’ “
Villegas was gracious in his statement after the decision.
“While it is obviously a disappointing way to start the season, the rules are the rules, and when something like this happens, it’s important to me that you’re respectful of the game and the people involved,” he said.
Andrews was encouraged by Villegas’ reaction.
“His comments were very gracious,” Andrews said. “He realized when he saw the tape.
“I wasn’t trying to do anything except try to help, but no good deed goes unpunished, I guess.”
Andrews said that Poulter’s comments weren’t the most critical ones he’s seen.
“Some of the rank-and-file golf fans, they have been a lot more harsh,” he said. “I try to let it roll off my back. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t take it personally. I would say that probably 70 percent of the people I’ve seen comments from probably disagree with what I did, and maybe 30 percent agree. I can see the other side of the coin, too, and I don’t have the answers. I think a better system to address what is probably going to happen again is important.”