Heartbreak for Ghei

Sat 01 Mar 2008

Heartbreak for Ghei

Gurgaon, India, March 1: India’s Gaurav Ghei endured the heartbreak of being disqualified at the US$2.5 million Johnnie Walker Classic after shooting up the leaderboard on Saturday.

After firing what would have been a sparkling third round seven-under-par 65 to move into contention, Ghei was hauled up for a rule infringement which occurred during Friday’s second round.

Television footages showed that Ghei had unknowingly moved his ball while playing a shot near the 18th green at DLF Golf and Country Club during the second round which he signed for a 72.

As Ghei did not realise his error which was effectively a two-stroke penalty, he was disqualified for signing for a wrong score.

Officials at the Johnie Walker Classic were alerted of the potential rule infringement early this morning but were only able to review the TV footages until after Ghei had teed off at 8.10am.

Chief Referee John Paramor said: “The situation was overnight, I received a text message from one of my colleagues who had been watching the golf coverage the previous evening and they noted on the coverage that Gaurav Ghei’s ball moved on the 18th as a result of him putting his club behind the ball to assess the lie having taken relief from the cart path.

“Unfortunately, no one in the immediate area saw the ball moved but clearly on reviewing the TV pictures, this has happened. The ball does move, all be it a very small distance. The situation is clearly he is penalised for the ball moving.

“If it had been noted before he played his next stroke, he could have corrected the error and save himself a further penalty, in other words, it would have been just a one stroke penalty had he replaced it. He failed to replace it so that would have meant a total penalty of two that was not added to his second round score. So therefore, he has signed for a score lower than was actually taken and is disqualified from the second round.

“Gaurav didn’t see the ball move. The movement was so small. It was probably a centimetre at most, around a quarter of an inch, less than a centimetre. And whether he thought the ball had just wobbled or oscillated, what have you, that was quite possible. But if you look at the TV pictures, it is reasonably clear that the ball does move this very small distance. But it’s quite possible that it was missed by people standing around there.”

A disappointed Ghei declined to speak to the media. He said: “It’s deeply disappointing and it’s a shame that all the people around and the referee did not spot the incident near the 18th green.”