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October 29, 2004

John Paramor


GORDON SIMPSON: Well, just to explain, we have with us John Paramor, the European Tour's chief referee and John is here to tell you about what happened at the third hole involving the tournament leader, Sergio Garcia. So John, take us through it, please.

JOHN PARAMOR: Okay. I'll see if I can make it as brief and as simple as possible. We became aware when the last match were I think teeing off No. 12 that there may have been a problem on hole 3. They said that Sergio had played a provisional ball and then had gone forward and his original ball had been found, but he decided that he wanted to play the provisional ball and finish out the hole with that.

Well, of course, based on those facts, that could be a problem. So I immediately went to the TV compound to see if I could ascertain whether, in fact, he had used those magical words "provisional," which are all important in Rule 27.2, which deals with the provisional ball. I listened to the tape very carefully and I could not hear the word "provisional" mentioned at any time.

So I thought, well, that's fine, he obviously decided that he was playing 3 off the tee and was going to abandon the original ball. This is originally what I thought and I further confirmed with sources out on the golf course that they had not heard the word "provisional" used, either.

I was taken aback somewhat when the players arrived in the scoring area and I asked them what happened on third and Sergio did say, "I definitely announced I was playing a provisional ball" to which his playing partner said, "Yes, he did."

So I said, "Oh, okay, fine. Could you explain the second part of it?" He said, "What do you mean the second part of it?" I said, "Well, the original ball was found." He said, "Well, I had no idea the original ball was found." So I said, "Well, no one told you the original ball was found and you had no idea at all?" He said no.

So I said, "And you just went out and you played with your provisional ball?" And he said yes. So therefore, I took him off to the TV compound and we had a look at some pictures which seemed to confirm that very instance; that nobody actually came to tell him that a ball had been found and it could well have been his original ball. So he went ahead and he played his provisional ball. And these circumstances, his score with the provisional ball counts, it came into play as soon as he putted with it on the green and he completed the hole I think in five strokes.

Q. Where was the original ball?

JOHN PARAMOR: The original ball was in the trees. It wasn't out-of-bounds. It was in sort of the fir trees and the area to the right of the third green. How would you best describe it, Jimmy? Just a scruff area. It's the rough. It's a scruff area, it's an area where you're not supposed to hit your ball. Sorry, Jimmy, not a scruff area. (Laughter.)

Q. Who found it?

JOHN PARAMOR: I think a number of spectators, John. They were a very large number of spectators around the area, and they apparently found it. But no one actually ever bothered to tell the player that they had it.

Q. And we don't know when they found it?

JOHN PARAMOR: I think they found it fairly soon after.

Q. After what?

JOHN PARAMOR: After he played either his provisional ball or the first ball; that I don't know.

Q. We see Sergio walking straight to the second ball on the green without stopping, without talking to anyone, except perhaps his partners?

JOHN PARAMOR: I can tell you exactly what we saw on TV, and he confirmed this happened. He walked, he marks his ball, he repairs the pitchmark, lists the ball, gives it to his caddie for cleaning and he walks to the side and he walks up the bank while his playing partner plays his putt on the green. He seems to be talking to the player at the time and they seem to be discussing or told me they were discussing, you know, the swing and the bad shot and, you know, what was coming up, but that was it.

Q. Did anyone else identify for sure that the first ball was, in fact, Sergio's and not just another ball in the trees?

JOHN PARAMOR: I'm not sure on that one. He did afterwards.

Q. Is that critical?

JOHN PARAMOR: Not really. It's no penalty. It would have been critical if he decided that he knew a golf ball was there and he decided not to go and identify it as his own; then he would have been in trouble had that ball been his own.

Q. Had you ever been at a golf tournament where the spectators have not informed the player that the ball was there? This seems very hard to believe, that no one actually said, "Your ball was over here."

JOHN PARAMOR: I think you're right. It is bizarre.

Q. Never happened.

JOHN PARAMOR: In the extreme. And I can't remember it happened. I'm not saying that it hasn't, but I think it has happened with smaller crowds where, you know, the player doesn't even bother to look.

Actually it has happened, balls coming out of water hazards, things like that; "What did you do that for? Your ball is over here." That's happened before. But it is very unusual, and in this case, it's unusual, no question about it.

Q. Who brought it to your attention?

JOHN PARAMOR: It was the scorer, the scorer with that game.

Q. Where is the first ball now?

JOHN PARAMOR: The first ball was in the area previously known as scruff.

Q. Where is it now? Has anybody seen it?

JOHN PARAMOR: Well, Sergio went to the area afterwards, because, you know, people said the original ball is up there. He said he went up and had a look and it was gone by that stage.

Q. This was after he putted out?

JOHN PARAMOR: Yes, after he putted out and they were making their way to the fourth tee and someone said the original was up there and I think he went up.

Q. But there was no sign?

JOHN PARAMOR: There was no sign. But they said it was in that bush.

Q. What was Sergio's demeanor when this was going on? Was he uptight or relaxed about it?

JOHN PARAMOR: He was relaxed and couldn't really understand why I was in the recording area. I think, you know, it wasn't too long before he realized that it was quite a serious situation to be in because clearly if things had not worked out and someone had advised him, then the penalty is quite severe.

Q. Disqualification?


Q. How many people had been talking to him and to whom did you talk to on that matter?

JOHN PARAMOR: Sergio, Lara, Sergio's caddie, the people who were doing the scoring, the people who were getting the clubs, and Howard Clark who was walking and commentating with that game, and then basically just the people in the TV unit were lining up tapes for me.

Q. So you did not find discrepancy between one version and another?


Q. None of them heard the word "provisional"?

JOHN PARAMOR: The two players very clearly.

Q. But all of these other people you just mentioned did not hear the word?

JOHN PARAMOR: No. That's not what I'm saying. If you listen to the original thing, when the guy said, "hang on," I can't tell you if I did hear the word "provisional." So I took that to mean, well, maybe he didn't. That's what I took it to mean. But I certainly didn't hear it on the TV replay. But that doesn't necessarily mean it didn't happen.

GORDON SIMPSON: John, thank you for this simplified version. Thanks for coming in.

Q. Put it now in one sentence, would you, please?

JOHN PARAMOR: Sergio had a problem on the third and there's no penalty.

End of FastScripts.

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