Early candidate for feel-good story of the year
It caught my eye this morning when I saw that Blayne Barber fired a 7-under 65 to earn medalist honors in a Monday qualifier for this week's Northern Trust Open on the PGA Tour, which will be his first Tour start.
So who, you ask, is Blayne Barber?
Barber is a former Auburn golfer who made headlines during last fall's q-school, when he disqualified himself for an infraction that only he witnessed.
It all happened on the 13th hole at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga., during the first stage of q-school. AL.com reported at the time, there was a tiny leaf in a bunker behind Barber's golf ball and he knew his club nicked it on the backswing even though his brother and caddie, Shayne, didn't see it and still doesn't think it happened.
According to rule 13-4, a golfer in a bunker cannot touch a loose impediment before impact, not even on the backswing, without incurring a penalty.
Barber immediately informed his playing partners and took a one-stroke penalty.
Long after the round, however, Barber's roommate informed him the infraction might actually be a two-stroke penalty, meaning Barber would have signed for an incorrect score -- an automatic disqualification.
Barber finished the first stage and qualified for the second stage of q-school.
However, the thought that he may have signed an incorrect scroecard was too much for Barber to bear. He called in the infraction himself and was deemed disqualified.
That opened the door for several players who thought they had missed out on second stage to advance.
Barber shouldn't be hailed as a hero. After all, he did the right thing. Golf is a game of honor.
But, it is nice to see that he's played his way into a PGA Tour event. Solid players can always use good karma.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
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