PINEHURST, N.C. – There’s never a good time for a two-stroke penalty. But the second week of Q-Series, where a whole year’s worth of status is on the line, ranks up there among the worst times to get dinged in the scoring tent.
Kendall Dye and Dewi Weber were still in shock about the whole thing after Q-Series ended.
The incident took place on the 17th hole during Round 6 at Pinehurst No. 9.
As Dye tells it, Christina Kim hit first on the par 3. Then Weber, runner-up at the 2016 NCAA Championship while a freshman at Miami, stepped up to the tee. As Weber prepared to hit, Dye motioned toward Weber’s caddie to ask if it was an 8-iron. Jacqueline Schram signaled back to confirm that it was, indeed, an 8-iron.
(Interestingly, Weber accidentally pulled the wrong club out of the bag and hit 9-iron, coming up short. Dye hit a 7-iron to 15 feet and three-putted.)
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Kim waited until the end of the round (10 holes later) to tell the pair that they had violated Rule 10-2. While players can, and do, look into other players’ bags to see what club is missing, they cannot ask a fellow player or caddie for information.
If a towel is draped over the bag, a player cannot move the towel aside to look.
Even though Weber didn’t have a clue that any of this had transpired, she was given a two-stroke penalty along with Dye because of her caddie’s mistake.
The players said LPGA officials took more than hour to deliver their decision.
Dye said she had no idea that signaling for a club was against the rules.
“I’m gutted for the other player who was over her shot, ball in air and had no idea what was going on,” said Dye. “By no means was I trying to cheat.”
Schram said she was also unaware of the rule.
“I have just seen so many caddies and people do it,” said Schram. “It was just a subtle gesture that I didn’t think twice about.”
Weber shot 71 with the two-stroke penalty and was T-37 after six rounds. She would’ve been T-27 without the penalty. The top 45 players earned LPGA status for 2020.
Neither Weber nor her caddie could eat or sleep that night. Weber shot 82 in the seventh round to effectively end her chances of earning a card.
“It affected me way too much,” said Weber. “It shouldn’t have. That’s absolutely, 100 percent on me.”
Dye, a veteran player of both the LPGA and Symetra tours, came to her final hole of the eighth round two shots outside the cutline of 5 over. She tried to ace the par-3 ninth, for a Hail Mary tour card. Instead, she pulled it left into the water and finished 9 over for the tournament.
“I own up to the penalty,” said Dye. “I had no idea that was the Rules of Golf. Lesson learned.”
Both players said they wished Kim had told them about the violation immediately after it happened rather than waiting until after the round.
While Kim didn’t name any names or divulge what happened on twitter, she did say that she “had to sit on this for the entire day so as not to ruin the rest of the round (because) I thought it would have gotten in their heads.”
Kim didn’t want to talk to Golfweek about the specifics of what happened.
“It was innocent,” said Kim. “There was no malice.”
Her “PSA” twitter post asking golfers to “know the rules” created a stir. Kim finished T-24 and upgraded her status for 2020 to Category 14.