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The Rhein Gibson headcover incident

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Have you guys seen this?

 

http://golfweek.com/2018/01/24/web-com-tour-player-throws-headcover-at-caddie-over-costly-and-mysterious-penalty/

 

Quick summary:

  • Web.com player in the hunt for a tournament win, hooks ball into hazard on the last hole.
  • Caddie picks up ball. Rules official assesses a stroke penalty because the caddie got the ball without explicit authorization from the player.
  • Gibson drops and hits, nearly holes out. Grabs putter out of the bag, pulls headcover, and flings the headcover at the caddie. Apparently at the same time, fires the caddie.
  • Gibson finishes 3rd instead of T-2, costing him about $12,000.
  • Caddie posts summary of the event on YouTube, including his argument that the penalty stroke should not have been assessed.

My thoughts: first, events like this are always interesting to learn more obscure rules. It looks like the caddie is correct: there should not have been a penalty here. Provision is made in the decisions of golf for circumstances in which a drop is obvious that a caddie can pick the ball up without penalty.

 

Second, Gibson comes out looking really bad. His anger is understandable, but any circumstance in which a person treats a subordinate (caddie, waitstaff, etc.) in a demeaning manner is a telling revelation of that person's character. Fire the guy: fine, that makes sense. But throwing things at him on the course? Childish and way over the line.

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Read about this earlier. Another case where the player didn't know the rules and know to challenge the penalty assessment.

 

I guess there are a couple of ways to look at this

 

Players fault for not knowing the rules

Caddie found the decision later in an effort to clear his name.

Rules officials fault for not knowing the rules and incorrectly assessing a penalty.

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I completely agree about Gibson's poor behavior.  Some guys would have knocked Gibson's block off!  I'm not so certain at least some fault doesn't lie with Davis though.  The rule clearly states, "any doubt should be resolved against the player".

 

About a dozen years ago, I caddied for a junior from my home club in a fairly well known junior event.  I had caddied for him and others lots of times in the past and have since.  Given the layout of the course, he took a driver and 3 iron to the tee of a par 5 while I went toward the landing area through the pine forest down the right side of the fairway.  Which happened to be OB for no reason other than the property didn't belong to the club even though they appeared to use it much more than the property owners.  Anyway, my player decided to hit driver over the corner of the pine forest, cutting the corner, in an attempt to reach in two.  A line off the tee that is almost entirely over OB until it reaches the intended landing area.  The ball clipped the tip-top of a pine tree and landed no more than 3 feet OB.  

 

I instinctively picked the ball up and began walking back toward my player knowing, he would need to re-tee.  I can vividly remember going down to pick up the ball thinking "what the hell are you doing".  I immediately realized I had screwed up but it was too late. 

 

The moral of the story is, never touch another players ball without express consent from said player!

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That dude is lucky I wasn't his caddy. That entire bag would have been in the water.

I would've done the same thing. You wanna fire me with golf still to be played? Carry your own bag then. Walk off the course right there.

 

Sent from my E6853 using Tapatalk

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The point of contention is decision 26.1/9.

 

 

Per the caddie: Ball was dead underneath two rocks and I told you about it and you said "f**k" and turned around stopped looking and walked back to the bag. The tour official actually found the unhittable ball. I then went over and quickly retrieved it.

 

Decision 26.1/9 states that if it's assumed it won't be played a caddy can pick it up without the players' permission without penalty. We'd already picked our drop spot, we weren't playing it!

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Read about this earlier. Another case where the player didn't know the rules and know to challenge the penalty assessment.

 

I guess there are a couple of ways to look at this

 

Players fault for not knowing the rules

Caddie found the decision later in an effort to clear his name.

Rules officials fault for not knowing the rules and incorrectly assessing a penalty.

 

Jim Duncan was the rules official who assessed the penalty.  He is the head rules official for the Web.com Tour and is extremely knowledgeable and experienced.  He stood by his ruling on Morning Drive this morning.  He also refuted, on Morning Drive, that he found the ball as the caddie has claimed. 

 

It seems to me, the caddie screwed up and isn't willing to admit so.

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Sounds like there are multiple stories. Probably will never hear the complete story. After reading the caddies statement that said they were still looking but had picked the drop spot it seems he may really be at fault.

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I completely agree about Gibson's poor behavior.  Some guys would have knocked Gibson's block off!  I'm not so certain at least some fault doesn't lie with Davis though.  The rule clearly states, "any doubt should be resolved against the player".

 

This is a good example of a poorly written rule. The whole point of decision 26-1/9 is to allow for the caddie to pick up the ball with explicit verbal instruction. But, as you note, it also says that "any doubt should be resolved against the player." By its very nature, any situation without explicit verbal instruction could be construed as having some amount of doubt. Which means that, with one phrase, everything that the decision gives with one hand it takes away with the other, making the whole thing stupid.

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Even if it was my fault. I'd still toss his sticks in the drink if he threw that cover at me.

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This is a good example of a poorly written rule. The whole point of decision 26-1/9 is to allow for the caddie to pick up the ball with explicit verbal instruction. But, as you note, it also says that "any doubt should be resolved against the player." By its very nature, any situation without explicit verbal instruction could be construed as having some amount of doubt. Which means that, with one phrase, everything that the decision gives with one hand it takes away with the other, making the whole thing stupid.

 

But couldn't one also make the argument that Gibson's body language and behavior leave doubt as to what his intentions were?  If a landing area and drop zone had already been selected and conversations had taken place on how to proceed, why throw putter covers and fire the caddie in the manner in which Gibson did?

 

As others have stated, we will likely never know the whole story as to what actually happened.  I tend to believe Jim Duncan, knowing his character and professionalism in his role as Vice President of Rules, Competitions and Administration for the Web.com Tour.  Not to mention, the caddie and player both have an "agenda"! 

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But couldn't one also make the argument that Gibson's body language and behavior leave doubt as to what his intentions were?  If a landing area and drop zone had already been selected and conversations had taken place on how to proceed, why throw putter covers and fire the caddie in the manner in which Gibson did?

 

As others have stated, we will likely never know the whole story as to what actually happened.  I tend to believe Jim Duncan, knowing his character and professionalism in his role as Vice President of Rules, Competitions and Administration for the Web.com Tour.  Not to mention, the caddie and player both have an "agenda"! 

 

I honestly don't want to defend anyone here; I think there's lots of blame to go around. But from the caddie's own report, he didn't know the decision that might have allowed him to protest. I suspect it's a safe assumption that the player didn't as well.

 

So the caddie picks up the ball, the penalty is assessed, and neither Gibson nor his caddie know that they might have grounds to protest that decision. They don't think they have any choice but to accept the penalty, and so Gibson is irate.

 

So Gibson's temper tantrum doesn't necessarily indicate that there was doubt about whether he was going to drop. It may (again, not pretending to know what's going through his mind) simply mean that he wasn't aware that the rules allowed for what his caddie did (and I do think that that ignorance is very, very likely).

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Not a very classy move throwing stuff at people no matter the circumstance. Stuff happens in golf all the time that is out of our control but childish tantrums are no way to deal with it.

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I honestly don't want to defend anyone here; I think there's lots of blame to go around. But from the caddie's own report, he didn't know the decision that might have allowed him to protest. I suspect it's a safe assumption that the player didn't as well.

 

So the caddie picks up the ball, the penalty is assessed, and neither Gibson nor his caddie know that they might have grounds to protest that decision. They don't think they have any choice but to accept the penalty, and so Gibson is irate.

 

So Gibson's temper tantrum doesn't necessarily indicate that there was doubt about whether he was going to drop. It may (again, not pretending to know what's going through his mind) simply mean that he wasn't aware that the rules allowed for what his caddie did (and I do think that that ignorance is very, very likely).

I can see neither caddie nor player having a very good grasp on the rules.  Especially when you consider, neither knew they could protest the official ruling.  I just don't believe any rules official, especially one as experiences as Duncan, would haphazardly issue a penalty in that circumstance.  Something in that moment gave him doubt as to the intentions of the player.

 

Maybe the language of the rule needs to change but, as it's written, it was correctly applied in my opinion.

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I can see neither caddie nor player having a very good grasp on the rules.  Especially when you consider, neither knew they could protest the official ruling.  I just don't believe any rules official, especially one as experiences as Duncan, would haphazardly issue a penalty in that circumstance.  Something in that moment gave him doubt as to the intentions of the player.

 

Maybe the language of the rule needs to change but, as it's written, it was correctly applied in my opinion.

 

And it's worth adding that, however it went down, Gibson and his caddie both carry the blame of not knowing the rules. The rules and decisions can be arcane, and it think's its understandable that recreational golfers don't know them exhaustively. But if golf is your livelihood, know the rules.

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"5 iron huh? Well, you're fired"

tenor.gif

 

 

God I hate when people are crybabies and blame someone else for their own misfortune. This kid is gonna have a tough time replacing his caddie that's for sure. Even if the caddie made a boneheaded decision, it still wasn't malicious and he didn't deserve to be publicly embarrassed.

 

 

Whenever I get mad that I can't find my ball in the rubbish, I remind myself that it would've been a lot easier to find in the fairway.

 

 

Sent from carrier pigeon using MyGolfSpy

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"5 iron huh? Well, you're fired"

tenor.gif

 

 

God I hate when people are crybabies and blame someone else for their own misfortune. This kid is gonna have a tough time replacing his caddie that's for sure. Even if the caddie made a boneheaded decision, it still wasn't malicious and he didn't deserve to be publicly embarrassed.

 

 

Whenever I get mad that I can't find my ball in the rubbish, I remind myself that it would've been a lot easier to find in the fairway.

 

 

Sent from carrier pigeon using MyGolfSpy

I think this is a great point.  Anyone Gibson tries to hire as a caddie will be hesitant to take the job, I would think.

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Shooter McGavin actually weighed in on this:

 

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