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August 25, 2006

Dillard Pruitt

Mike Shea

Slugger White


CHRIS REIMER: We have three distinguished guests here today. Go ahead, and if you guys could, just state your name and official title for everybody.

SLUGGER WHITE: Slugger White, the tournament director for the PGA TOUR.

MIKE SHEA: Mike Shea, PGA TOUR rules.

DILLARD PRUITT: Rules official for the PGA TOUR.

SLUGGER WHITE: Well, we know what went on behind No. 9. I was not there. Mike and Dillard handled it, and I must say extremely well. I just want everyone to know that the only out of bounds we have on this golf course is the driving range. We've never had the clubhouse out of bounds, and that's pretty much the end of my statement.

Mike and Dillard can go with the specifics of exactly how they handled Tiger's ball back there and Paul McGinley's.

MIKE SHEA: Thanks, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, that whole area behind the clubhouse, it starts at the 16th hole. It's hospitality units and everything from left of 16 all the way to the clubhouse basically, and then the 9th green is surrounded by grandstand.

And basically what happened was that Dillard located the position of the ball by going through the clubhouse, and he found a police officer who had seen a person with the ball at a specific point.

Dillard then there were two or three of us trying to work this rules situation together because we had to try and move people and we had to approximate the distance that he was from the hole, and we were communicating by radio, and Dillard was moving to a position where he was going to be equidistant from the hole.

Once Dillard got to a position on the ground where he was clear of a line of sight this is all I'm talking about in the rules of golf, it's not very interesting, but again, true line of sight from the ball to the flag stick from the position where he was going to drop the ball, then he operated under the temporary movable obstruction rule, which is the grandstand behind No. 9 green.

He dropped the ball more than one, less than two. The ball was on the cart path, I believe, and then he took another drop from the cart path to his nearest point of relief and played.

That's basically the rules situation in a nutshell, and Dillard can go into the fact of who he was dealing with behind the green and where the ball was and how he located it.

DILLARD PRUITT: Well, when I got to the clubhouse, several people were telling me things that had happened: that it was on top of the roof, that it was in an air duct, air conditioning duct, whatever. And then we came to the conclusion that it actually went over the clubhouse. One.

Of the golf staff, I guess, took me through the clubhouse, went through the locker room, came out the other side, which is where I saw the road. I don't know, Warner Road, and I called Steve Carman just to make sure Warner Road was not a boundary, and it has not been and it was not this time.

At that time there was a security officer there that told me that a chef that was behind the clubhouse that was unloading a truck had saw a kid with a ball in his hand, put it in his pocket and left the area, and so he told me where that point was, and that's when I decided that the ball was gone and we're not going to be able to find that ball, that Tiger was going to be able to put another ball in play.

At that point is when I tried to figure the best arc that I could and go to the side of the clubhouse where Steve Carman could shoot me with a laser for us to come up with a yardage. Steve had already I'm sorry, Mike had already worked with Paul McGinley and had a yardage from that point. I'm thinking it was 36 or 37 yards. So Steve had shot me from that point, and we had came up with 97 yards. That's the yardage that we worked off of.

We dropped a ball, we actually dropped it twice. The first ball rolled one or two club lengths from where it first struck the ground. We dropped again, it did the same thing. We placed the ball once the ball was in play, but Tiger's right foot was on the cart path. So from that point he decided he wanted relief from that, and we moved a little bit further left I don't know, eight yards, seven or eight yards, nine yards and we picked that point from one club length from there, and he dropped the ball and that ball wasn't closer to the hole, wasn't on the path, et cetera, and that ball was in played and he played away. Thankfully I left (laughter).

Q. Dillard or Mike, the ball was never returned?

DILLARD PRUITT: Well, I can't say that when we were dealing with Tiger and Mike was giving me the line of the flag stick, I guess we let one group play through, and Tiger wanted to actually see the flag stick. We were working off of just hand signals, whatever. Tiger wanted to see the flag stick held up by the hole, and we did that.

Once I got a ball once we dropped a ball and got a ball in play from the TIO is when I discovered that somebody had recovered the ball, but at that point I told Tiger that this is the ball that we're dealing with here.

Q. But, in fact, did the kid who the chef saw, the ball was never recovered to your knowledge?

DILLARD PRUITT: I just heard that Steve and it wasn't Steve Carman that they were talking about, it was Steve Williams. I had just heard that he had the ball. By the time that I heard that, we had had a ball in play from the TIO, and I said we're just going to

MIKE SHEA: A police officer told me that he retrieved the ball from whoever had the ball had given it to Steve Williams, so Steve had the ball, but another ball had already been put into play because we thought it had disappeared.

Q. What would have happened if you hadn't found a ball?

MIKE SHEA: If we hadn't found a ball, then we would have operated under a rule that deals with a ball lost in an obstruction, the obstruction being the clubhouse, and there's another rule procedure, and Tiger would have dropped the ball somewhere between the grandstand and the clubhouse where the ball would have entered on top of the clubhouse, the nearest point of relief from that. Once he dropped that ball, then he would have taken relief from the grandstand behind the 9 green.

So he probably would have ended up playing his shot closer to the green than what he did, but it would have been towards the same on the same angle, but it would have been 30, 40, 50 yards closer to the flag stick probably.

DILLARD PRUITT: Probably as close close to where Paul played.

MIKE SHEA: Well, I think Paul's ball was right behind the grandstand and that was 30 yards, and I was thinking another 10 or 15 yards to the clubhouse, so maybe 20 yards further. It might have been a 50 yard shot that Tiger Woods had as opposed to a the 5 yard shot.

Q. And he would have been laying

MIKE SHEA: Same. He would have been laying 2, playing his third, just as he was. The ball would not have been lost I mean, it would have been lost, but lost in an obstruction, which isn't a lost ball.

Q. For those of us who play on a Sunday, if his ball basically had never been found in the clubhouse or around the clubhouse, the fact that there were TV pictures that had showed it had gone in the clubhouse, that would have been okay?

MIKE SHEA: When we arrived there, I started a stopwatch running, just a little five minutes and two seconds, I think I clicked the watch, and I called to Dillard and Steve Carman and said we can operate under a lost ball rule, and Dillard said, no, we've already spotted where the ball is. He was within five minutes of knowing where the ball was picked up by this person originally, so they had a spot and reasonable evidence that the ball was taken by someone, and that's why the ball was never lost in the clubhouse.

Q. Is it reasonable evidence, because it sounds like an awful lot of hearsay, a security officer says, there was a chef says there was a kid?

DILLARD PRUITT: Well, I was talking about the security officer, and there was a guy unloading the truck who were there together, and they both told me that the kid had it. I took their word for it.

Q. Are we saying that the people unloading this truck saw the ball come in there and the kid pick it up or was it just any ball he picked up?

DILLARD PRUITT: I'm not saying that. I'm saying that the security officer and the guy loading the truck saw a kid pick up a ball and showed me exactly where he picked the ball up.

Q. Is it not part of the rules that you have to identify the ball?

DILLARD PRUITT: Well, with the commotion going on in the clubhouse with people watching it on television, I took it that with the security guy that was behind watching the back door saw this ball just appear and this kid yelled to the security officer, why are y'all throwing balls at us. The security officer didn't throw a ball. I was using that as reasonable evidence.

Q. I understand that, but I'm just asking in the rules because I'm not going to say I know the rules, but in the rules doesn't it say that you have to identify the ball? That's all I'm asking.

MIKE SHEA: Yes, for a ball to be lost. If you don't identify it within five minutes, then the ball is lost?

Q. So nobody saw the ball actually go into that area, actually come into the area, just a kid picking up a ball?

DILLARD PRUITT: The chef and the security officer assured me that this ball just appeared, was in this area, and this kid picked the ball up and I used that as reasonable evidence that that was his ball.

Q. Right, but no one could identify the ball?

MIKE SHEA: But that can happen any time. If a person hits a ball out in the rough on the 7th hole anywhere on the golf course and his ball disappears because someone picks it up and leaves, that is not a lost ball. He can't identify with reasonable evidence that an outside agency has picked up the ball and left. You're not going to get him for a lost ball because there's reasonable evidence that someone picked this ball up.

So Dillard made the judgment that with the comments from the chef and the police officer that the young man picked this ball up.

Q. Within the five minute time frame?

MIKE SHEA: Yes, because I had I had a stopwatch going and I was getting ready to operate under the ball was lost in the clubhouse or lost in an obstruction, and when I called that the five minutes is up, let's go to this rule, Dillard had already found evidence that this ball was taken by someone else behind the clubhouse.

DILLARD PRUITT: And I think one of the things in my mind was the reason this was his ball is getting behind the 9th green, people telling me that the ball flew to a spot on that path and then it went over the clubhouse, I'm thinking that there's not that that was his ball. There's not very many other balls.

Q. I know this is kind of out there, but you had a guy on the roof. What if he would have found it up there? I'm just curious.

MIKE SHEA: Well, if he would have found the ball up on the roof, then we would have operated off of that point. You said if we would have

Q. I mean, you just measure the distance of where the guy finds it up there?

MIKE SHEA: You take the distance from the flag stick to the location of the ball. The situation that we found ourselves in is that we operated from a distance from the flag stick to the point that the ball was taken by someone, and so there was some estimation there. I was dealing with one rules situation, I had to handle X amount of yards, and Dillard was back there with another ball and trying to get to an equidistant arc. That's kind of the rules lingo.

Q. Would he have probably ended up over there in the same area to hit?

DILLARD PRUITT: Very similar, maybe closer to the hole.

Q. But he could have played it from the roof?

DILLARD PRUITT: It was an option.

MIKE SHEA: We've had players that have done that before.

Q. Obviously not this year, but when we come here next year, will we find out of bounds stakes on that on the outside of that path?

MIKE SHEA: No, I wouldn't necessarily say the clubhouse would be out of bounds, but I would think we might think Warner Road is out of bounds. We might take that position.

But I think out of bounds is a really severe penalty. That's like the when you can play golf without having a boundary, it's really nice. We don't have any boundaries on this golf course except the driving range. That's a luxury to have that. A guy hits one misplayed shot and he's out of bounds, that's a pretty severe penalty. This is a really unusual, oddball case that we've been playing here for 30 some odd years and we've never had a ball in the clubhouse, much less over it.

SLUGGER WHITE: Plus we've got the nearest cart path just to the left of the green and the right of the green. It's like just a small bit of an errant shot that it could hit that and go. It's part of the game.

Q. What do you think is the most oddball part of it, the whole sequence?

MIKE SHEA: I think how the ball got there would be pretty oddball to me.

Q. Tiger said that they eventually found the kid with the ball. Is that right?

DILLARD PRUITT: That's what I heard, but the point that I was told that, we already had a ball in play on the TIO situation, and I told Tiger we were just dealing with this ball right here.

Q. Do you know for a fact that they found the guy, or is that just what you heard, also?

DILLARD PRUITT: That's just what I heard, that Stevie had the ball, Steve Williams.

MIKE SHEA: A police officer, once again, told us that he had got the ball and somehow he got it to Steve, but that was after they had put the other ball in play.

Q. What kind of ball was it?

DILLARD PRUITT: Probably Nike.

Q. A police officer told you that he saw it come off the roof and then

DILLARD PRUITT: The police officer that was guarding the back door told me that he and this guy that was unloading a truck, a food truck, I guess, saw a kid pick up a ball and showed me where this kid picked up the ball, and the kid actually said something about "why are you guys throwing balls down here at me," and the police officer said we're not throwing balls down there.

I came to the conclusion that that was the ball. Before I had gone through the clubhouse, I was told that the ball hit this cart path behind the 9th green and went over I was hoping it was on the balcony or something. I heard it was over the roof, I heard it was in an air conditioning duct or something.

Q. Was the assumption that it actually finished off the property on the road, on Warner Road?

DILLARD PRUITT: No, it was on the clubhouse side of Warner Road. It was not over the road. It was some 25 yards there's an unloading area, I guess, back there.

Q. Where does this fit in your list of oddball rulings?

MIKE SHEA: It's pretty unusual.

Q. Give us another one.

MIKE SHEA: Well, we've had a player that has played a shot from the top of a clubhouse at Indian Wells one year and got the ball up and down, so it has happened. I think it was Gary Hallberg on the 18th hole

SLUGGER WHITE: 16th hole.

MIKE SHEA: 16th hole at Indian Wells. So, I mean

SLUGGER WHITE: He didn't want to drop it so he played it.

MIKE SHEA: I think those are kind of odd rulings. The ones where guys get disqualified, that's really tough. Those are worse than the odd ones?

Q. Not to continue with the hypothetical, but if the ball had gone through the little service area across the road and onto the North Course, still in play?


Q. Are there any clubhouses that you can think of that would be out of bounds?


SLUGGER WHITE: The only one I can think of is Colonial. They play that as a local rule there at the club, and we just continue on with it.

MIKE SHEA: There's a lot of clubhouses that are in bounds.

SLUGGER WHITE: The clubhouse at Muirfield.


Q. Whatever happened to McGinley?

MIKE SHEA: He found his ball. His ball was on the path just behind the grandstand, and that's who I originally started dealing with as Dillard was trying to get we kind of operated on part of the distance that Paul was, so we knew the distance from one place and then just

Q. Where did he end up dropping?

MIKE SHEA: He was to the left of well, the golfer's right of No. 9 green just off the far edge of the grandstand. It would be an angle going towards No. 1 tee.

Q. Was it on the concrete or in a bush, McGinley's?

MIKE SHEA: He told me he brought his ball. He played his ball. It was just adjacent to the cart path that's behind the grandstand.

End of FastScripts.

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