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Davis Love III

Michelle “The Whiner” Wie Could Learn a Few Things From Davis Love III

Davis Love III

Davis Love III watches his drive off of the 2nd tee box during the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida on March 27, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo © 2010 Newscom All rights reserved.

Boo-hoo to Michelle Wie and her latest rules infraction episode. Many of us were hoping that she had matured in the past year to the point that we wouldn’t witness any more of her whining and uncertainty about the Rules of Golf.

In last week’s Kia Classic tournament, Wie grounded her club and claimed it was to keep her from falling backwards into the water. (See Michelle Wie’s Expensive Penalty by Jeff Skinner to see the exact rule that was broken.) If she had grounded the club behind her, while visibly slipping or stumbling, she would have been credible. But she put the club down on the grass to her left and did not appear to be unstable. After being penalized and her “that’s not fair” stuff started, I groaned and realized that Wie is still very unprofessional and unwilling to take responsibility for her rules mistakes.

A terrific contrast in character is evident with Davis Love III. In 1995, he was playing in a tournament the week before the Zurich Classic in New Orleans and was asked to move his ball marker on the green by another player. A few holes later, Davis realized that he wasn’t sure if he had replaced the marker correctly and decided he should take a 2 stroke penalty for possibly being in violation of the rules regarding marking one’s ball. Without the penalty he would have made the Top 30 on the money list and qualified to play in the Masters Tournament in 2 weeks time. When interviewed later, he was asked, “If you don’t make it into the Masters because of this 2 stroke penalty, how will you feel?” His reply: “If I made it into the Masters and won, how would I feel knowing I cheated to get into the Masters? And it just so happened that Davis won the Zurich Classic in New Orleans the very next week and got into the Masters legitimately. Yes, Michelle Wie could learn a few things from Davis Love III.

Is there a lesson here for all golfers? I think Barry Rhodes, who writes the excellent Rules of Golf blog, says it well: This latest Wie episode is an “example of how knowing the Rules of Golf can be of significant benefit!” And I’ll add that conversely, it’s a fantastic example of how not knowing the Rules of Golf can be of significant detriment… to the tune of $90,000!

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