Harrington disqualified in Abu Dhabi
Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington was disqualified
before the second round of the HSBC Championship after the Irishman
was judged to have illegally moved his ball during Thursday’s first
European Tour senior referee Andy McFee said Friday that a
viewer emailed to say Harrington replaced his ball on the green
and, as he took the coin away, his hand moved the ball. Since the
ball was not replaced, Harrington incurred a two stroke penalty not
reflected on his scorecard.
”The problem is that Padraig’s card for the seventh shows a
three, and the fact that Padraig was totally unaware that this ball
has moved doesn’t unfortunately help him,” McFee said. ”The
disqualification is for signing for the wrong score, lower than
He finished with a 7-under 65 and was one shot behind leader
”You know what? A lot worse things could happen. You could be
five ahead going into the last round,” Harrington said jokingly.
”It’s an awkward situation. Every time something like this
happens, you want to try and gain something from it, learn
something from it.”
In May 2000 at the Benson and Hedges International, Harrington
led by five shots after three rounds but had failed to sign his
first-round card and was disqualified on Sunday morning.
Harrington acknowledged that he touched the ball but felt it
”I’m well aware of the ruling on that situation, and it’s
happened many times over the years,” he said. ”You know, I’m
quite comfortable, if you touch a ball and it doesn’t move and you
feel it hasn’t moved, it hasn’t moved, and you don’t need to –
there is no replacing.
”If you called the referee at that moment in time,” he added,
”in all good conscience, I couldn’t have put the ball anywhere
else but where it was.”
Harrington’s disqualification is only the most recent to be
caused by a viewer.
Earlier this month, Camilo Villegas was disqualified for a rules
violation that a television viewer called in after the opening
round of a PGA Tour event in Hawaii.
Villegas was chipping up the slope to the 15th green when the
ball twice rolled back toward him. The second time, Villegas walked
over and casually swatted away some loose pieces of grass in front
of the divot as the ball was still moving down the slope.
That is a violation of Rule 23-1 that says, ”When a ball is in
motion, a loose impediment that might influence the movement of the
ball must not be removed.” The penalty is two shots. Villegas
opened with a 72, and he also was disqualified for signing an
”The rules are good, we abide very well, the players love the
fact that we apply them,” Harrington said. ”We love the standard
that we play by. When we have to stick to that, that’s the best
thing about our game.”
Harrington did acknowledge that the European Tour might consider
modifying the penalty so a player was not disqualified after he
”has signed his card and something has come forward that the
player could not have been aware about.”
”I’m comfortable with the whole idea that there’s people there
watching, and I believe when I’m on the golf course I’m not going
to do anything untoward,” Harrington said. ”I hope that this many
people watch The European Tour. I hope there’s 100 million people
watching me play and checking me out. It’s good for the game.”