Harrington looks to avoid controversy regarding rules at TPC Sawgrass

padraig harrington, jon brendle
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Padraig Harrington conferred with rules official Jon Brendle on Sunday after a question arose as to where he teed off from on the 13th hole at the Wells Fargo Championship. He wasn't penalized.
PA Sport


Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | 6:15 p.m.

Padraig Harrington must be wondering what else could possibly happen to him as he prepares for golf's richest event -- the $9.5 million Players Championship this week.

The Irishman found himself in his second rules investigation of the year on Sunday, but this time the outcome was in his favor.

Disqualified in Abu Dhabi in January after a TV viewer noticed that his ball had moved a tiny fraction of an inch as he picked up his marker, Harrington was studying more video at the end of the Wells Fargo Championship. On this occasion a spectator had raised the question of whether he had played from in front of the tee markers at the 13th hole, but both going back to the scene with officials and looking at TV coverage couldn’t prove it one way or another.

"It really would be a question of being a martyr if I took a penalty at this stage," he said. "It was just inconclusive. It would be very, very odd for me and especially the other guys not to see something and there was nothing that stood out to us at the time.

"I've had a few instances over the years with penalties and you do have to abide by the rules all the time,” he added. “This one there's just no reason to say yes, even though it's certainly close."

The incident was just another example, though, of the fine line -- almost literally, in this case -- between success and failure.

Harrington tied for ninth and earned about $150,000. If the decision had gone against him, he would have been disqualified again and earned nothing.

Only a week ago, Webb Simpson lost a playoff in New Orleans after suffering a one-shot penalty late in his round after his ball moved in the wind as he went to putt a foot from the hole.

And on Sunday in Charlotte, Lucas Glover triumphed in a playoff after an amazing break on the final hole when his ball rolled down a slope just before he was about to play and left him with a much easier approach to the green. The difference between finishing first and second in both instances was more than $450,000.

If something happens this weekend, the financial implications are even greater.

First prize at Sawgrass is over $1.6 million and second place is worth $1.025 million.



Stop listening to people calling in and telling officials that someone cheated. Television is not an accurate picture. Angles are distorted. There are officials on every hole. Are they not enough to witness a violation of the rules?

Golf has to many rules anyway. Ask Craig Stadler.