In life mistakes happen, in golf mistakes cost you

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Junior Devon Purser had his second round score at the Falcon Invitational last weekend disqualified after accidentally recording his score as 69 instead of 70.
(Source: Weber State Athletics)

Before I start, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy going out and golfing every once in a while. I’m not very good at all, but I still enjoy it nonetheless.

That being said, sometimes the rules in golf drive me crazy.

On Saturday, junior Devon Purser of the Weber State men’s golf team shot a two-under-par score of 70 in the second round of the Falcon Invitational match. He signed his scorecard, verifying the information was accurate.

The problem was his scorecard read a score of 69.

That evening, Purser saw the error while checking the leaderboard and reported it the next morning to officials. His second round score was immediately disqualified, and he was given a 10-stroke penalty for a round score of 80. Purser finished 88th on the individual leaderboard, and Weber State finished tied for 11th.

If the scoring error had not occurred, Purser would have finished in a tie for fifth place on the individual leaderboard, and Weber State would have finished in seventh place.

Purser’s integrity should be commended. He knew exactly what would happen by reporting the scoring error to officials, and he did the right thing by being honest. It would have been easy for Purser to not say anything, and provided the error was not caught, could have finished significantly better than where he ended. But he did the right thing and told the truth.

I don’t think he should have been penalized though.

If Purser hadn’t said anything, and tried to keep the incorrect score, then absolutely that’s worth a penalty. But he didn’t.

One wrong stroke of the pen erased an afternoon of work and concentration. Purser saw the mistake and told the officials. Would it really have been that hard to erase or cross out the incorrect score, and replace it with the correct score?

I understand that it’s a rule in competitive golf. I understand it has been this way for over a century. I understand that Purser should have checked his scorecard more closely before signing it and turning it in.

But that still doesn’t make it right in my book.

If Purser had been competing in the PGA tour, his mistake could have cost him much more than just a 10-stroke penalty. Last month, Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour player Cameron Tringale reported himself to officials for a scoring error that occurred at the US PGA Championship. On the 11th hole, Tringale mistakenly scored himself as completing the hole one stroke over par, instead of two strokes over par. Tringale reported himself to officials, and he was disqualified.

Tringale had finished in 33rd place, his best finish in a major championship before he was disqualified.

He also lost $53,000 in prize money.

With that amount of money, you can outfit a family of four with brand new top-of-the-line golf clubs and golf balls, buy a brand new four passenger golf cart and still have more than enough leftover for a filet mignon dinner at a five-star restaurant.


It’s amazing how much one simple mistake in the game of golf can cost you. If I were in charge of making the rules of golf, I would reward those that were honest and admitted to their mistake. Punishing someone for doing the right thing just doesn’t make any sense to me.

So until the rules of golf change, always triple check your scorecard before you turn it in.

And bring a calculator too.