Inkster DQ’d for rule violation
Less than a week after a rules violation cost Dustin Johnson his shot at the PGA Championship, Juli Inkster was disqualified from the LPGA Tour’s Safeway Classic when a television viewer spotted her breaking a rule.
The 50-year-old Hall of Famer was making the turn on the Ghost Creek Course at Pumpkin Ridge during Saturday’s second round, but the No. 10 hole was backed up. During the 30-minute wait, she affixed a ”doughnut” weight to her 9-iron and took some practice swings to stay loose.
Turns out that’s not allowed under rule 14-3.
The alert viewer informed tournament officials by e-mail, but Inkster was already on the 17th hole. She finished her round to the applause of the crowd on the rural course about 20 minutes west of Portland.
A fan yelled ”Go Juli!” and she smiled. Inkster was at 8 under heading into Sunday’s final round, in a trio three strokes back of leader and eventual winner Ai Miyazato.
LPGA Director of Tournament Competitions Sue Witters met Inkster in a tunnel under the stands leading from the green to the scorer’s tent. Inkster, Witters said, was understandably surprised that she had been disqualified.
”Totally surprised,” Witters said. ”I mean, there was no malice there. Her sole reason for doing it was because she had been waiting 30 minutes and had to warm up.”
Witters said video replay confirmed Inkster broke the rule on the par-5 10th hole.
”The rules staff here made the decision on the rule and we took it one step further and called the USGA,” Witters said. ”We would have loved to have some wiggle room on that. But it’s pretty cut and dried.”
Last Sunday at Whistling Staits, Johnson was given a two-shot penalty on the final hole because he grounded his 4-iron in the sand to the right of the fairway, not aware he was in a bunker.
Johnson had a one-shot lead when he teed off on the 18th. He missed a 7-foot par putt and seemed to slip into a playoff. But when he learned he had let his club touch the sand during his preshot routine, Johnson had to add two shots to his score and wound up tied for fifth.
Inkster was stern-faced Saturday evening as she was whisked away by a course shuttle after learning of her disqualification. Later, she issued a brief statement.
”I had a 30-minute wait and I needed to loosen up,” she said. ”It had no effect on my game whatsoever, but it is what it is. I’m very disappointed.”