Who’s to blame, Garcia or Kuchar?
By Paul Gueorgieff
Editor, Golfer Pacific NZ
Let’s do a little bit of role play.
I am playing you in the quarter-finals of the world matchplay championships in Texas. The winner of the tournament gets nearly $US1.75 million. There’s a lot at stake.
On the seventh hole of our quarter-final, you miss a putt that you were very hopeful of getting. In annoyance you backhand a four-inch putt and it misses the hole before I have had the chance to concede the putt.
I approach the referee and ask what is the situation. The referee says did you concede the putt? I say no I hadn’t. The referee says, in that case, I win the hole.
You will know this situation. It’s exactly what happened between Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar in a quarter-final of the world matchplay championship, where the winner receives nearly $US1.75 million. There is a lot at stake.
Now let’s reverse the roles. We are on the seventh hole of our quarter-final. I miss a putt that I was very hopeful of getting. I missed the putt and in annoyance I backhand a four-inch putt and it misses the hole before you have had time to concede the putt.
Would you say, it’s okay Paul, I had given you the putt, even though you really hadn’t. You just thought it was the right thing to do.
So who is right and who is wrong in this situation? Why did Kuchar approach the referee when he knew exactly what the rules were? Was he trying to blame the referee?
Let’s make this another situation. You and I are playing an interclub match and it’s the last match of the season. If I win, our team wins the grade. If you win, your team wins the grade.
On the last hole I miss a putt that I was very hopeful of getting. In annoyance I backhand a four-inch putt and it misses the hole before you have had time to concede it.
All of your team members are looking on. Do you then say, it’s okay Paul, I had given you the putt, even though you really hadn’t?
My answer to all of these situations is simple. If I had missed the putt I would not have backhanded the next one in annoyance.
I would have looked to my opposition and asked is that good?
My opposition would have said yes and that would have been the end of the story.
In Sergio Garcia’s case it was his hot-headedness that lead to the situation. He was the one that created the situation.
Just a month or so earlier Garcia had been disqualified from a tournament in Saudi Arabia for disgracefully vandalising the greens. It was inexcusable.
Just a month or so earlier Kuchar had won a tournament in Mexico. First prize was $US1.3 million but initially he only paid his stand-in caddy $5000. This was inexcusable.
Caddies usually receive 10 percent of the prize money when a player wins a tournament and it was only following criticism in the news media that Kuchar may have finally coughed up $50,000 to the caddy.
Garcia later admitted the fault was his in the world matchplay championship.
He said: “It’s quite simple. I screwed it up, it’s as simple as that. Obviously I missed my putt and I kind of tapped it with the back of my putter before he said anything. It’s fine. At the end of the day, I’m the one that made the mistake.”