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June 9, 2003

Mark Russell


MARK RUSSELL: It is permitted by the rules a player should not improve or allow to improve his line of play by any of the following actions, and one of them is creating or eliminating irregularities of surface. Duffy, on his 12th hole, I think it's a nervous reaction. He backed off the shot because a cart went by, and then he stepped up and just kind of casually tapped down where his ball had landed in the fairway, is what I'm thinking. I'm not sure. It was an irregularity of surface. And the committee determined that it was a reasonable distance on his line, thus improving his line, thus getting a two-stroke penalty.

Q. (Inaudible)

MARK RUSSELL: Well, it's a rule. Physically eliminate an irregularity near his line and it is a gray area, but the committee determined that it was in that reasonable distance.

Q. I think Duffy said that someone called it in, a viewer who was watching. Is that the case?

MARK RUSSELL: From what I understand, the United States Golf Association called us. Someone called them. And called our rules official, Steve Rintoul and Steve notified myself. I went down and looked at the tape. And I had the rest of the committee look at the tape. We determined that he did indeed breach the rule.

So we told him walking to the tee shot on 16. We debated whether to tell him or not. He was in second place. He had a cushion. If he was going to get a two-stroke penalty, I felt he needed to know that. It might have affected the way he played. So we were concerned about that. So I went out and I talked to Duffy as he was walking to his tee shot on the 16th hole. And we agreed that we would talk about it after the round.

We showed him the tape and we had a lengthy discussion, and the committee applied the infraction of Rule 13.2. It's not any fun at all. It's a horrible situation. It's our job to play golf by the rules, and in this case we had to call a penalty.

Q. (Inaudible)

MARK RUSSELL: We watched everything they had. We saw everything they had, Gary. We sure did.

Q. I know it's a gray area, but where would you say you would draw the line to say within a reasonable distance? It is two inches to the right?

MARK RUSSELL: I think it is a gray area. That's the reason they write it as such. Your intended line of play and a reasonable distance on each side. We determined that it was a reasonable distance.

Q. Duffy did not say anything critical of anybody, but he did continue to say he did disagree --

MARK RUSSELL: Absolutely. We had an excellent discussion down there. You're exactly right. This is a gentleman's game. And Duffy Waldorf is indeed a gentleman. To tell you the truth, we looked at every way we could get Duffy out of this. But looking at the picture, he physically steps up and eliminates the irregularity in front of his ball. We just didn't see any way we could get him out of it.

Q. I know this has happened before, but can you talk generally about the idea of a fan or whomever being able to watch television, call in and affect a rule posthoc. There is nothing like this in any other sport, obviously. At what point -- can someone call in a day later and affect that?

MARK RUSSELL: A day later, the competition would be closed.

Q. Clearly no one is seeing anything live. Is that a good thing for the game?

MARK RUSSELL: Golf is not like the other games. Golf is the only game that more is better. The less strokes you have, everything else is more runs. It's a totally different game. We operate in facts. It doesn't really matter how you find out. It is the fact, did this or did it not happen. It doesn't matter how you're alerted to that fact.

99.9 percent of the people that call in, basically when I talk to them, I don't know what they're talking about when they talk about the rules. Jeff Hall called down here from USGA and talked to Steve Rintoul. It seemed like he knew what he was talking about, so we went and took a look at it. There's many times we've looked at things and it's just a waste of time. We, as a committee, if something like that is reported, it's our responsibility to look into it.

Q. If he violated a rule, do you think anything he did had an affect on his shot or the way he played it?

MARK RUSSELL: Probably not. I think he just did that as a nervous reaction.

Q. He didn't do it intentionally, obviously, but do you think --

MARK RUSSELL: He did do it intentionally, but I don't think it was bothering him. I don't think it was bothering him, no, I don't.

Q. It's more like taking a --

MARK RUSSELL: It was more of a nervous reaction.

Q. -- fixing a ball mark on the green kind of thing?

MARK RUSSELL: He was ready to play. The cart came by. He stepped up and tapped it down.

Q. Does it make it more interesting -- not interesting, but that you have to choose whether to approach him there in the 16th fairway because he still has the right to discuss it with you, and in theory he could still not get the penalty, or basically had it already been decided?

MARK RUSSELL: Well, once we looked at it, I didn't think there was any way we could get him out of it. I wish there was. We got the whole committee together. And we all discussed it at length on how we could. It is a gray area. But in this situation, the committee just applied the rule.

Q. (Inaudible)?

MARK RUSSELL: The PGA TOUR rules committee, yes. There were 5 of us involved in this.

Q. All rules officials?

MARK RUSSELL: All rules officials, yes.

Q. Was it unanimous?

MARK RUSSELL: It was unanimous. Like I said, we discussed, is there any way we can get him out of this. Duffy knows, I told him, I said, Duffy, this isn't real pleasant for us, but our job is to uphold the rules of the game, protect the other competitors in the game and Duffy just made a mistake.

Q. Could the rule use some fine-tuning?

MARK RUSSELL: It's a good rule. It was just a very fringe thing Duffy did. You can't improve your line of play doing those things.

End of FastScripts....

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