Monday 18 December 2017

Michael Hoey's moving decision a welcome lesson in etiquette for Woods

Michael Hoey called foul on himself
Michael Hoey called foul on himself

Karl MacGinty

AS the golf world oscillates on its axis after Tiger took exception to being penalised two strokes at the BMW Championship, it's worth noting Michael Hoey's recent decision to call foul on himself when he "suspected" his ball "might" have moved in long grass at the recent Northern Ireland Open.

Woods surprised PGA Tour rules officials when he disputed persuasive TV evidence that his ball moved behind the first green last Friday as he carefully picked away an acorn.

The world No 1 insisted "from my vantage point, I thought it just oscillated and that was it". Fair enough.

Tiger was not swayed by close-up TV images of the episode but the chief referee at the tournament was convinced enough to insist Woods take an eight at the hole instead of double-bogey six.

Hoey's selfless act in reporting the movement of his ball in deep rough at Galgorm Castle, far from any camera lens and as he battled (unsuccessfully) to make the cut at the Challenge Tour event, was more in keeping with golf tradition.

Initially, Hoey thought his ball had oscillated and played it where it lay, but a niggling doubt persuaded him to seek the advice of rules officials for clarification.

In the absence of any other evidence, the call was left to the man himself.

The multiple European Tour winner decided there was a "70pc chance" his ball had slipped down in the long grass before he addressed it and took his medicine.

Sadly, it got only an infinitesimal fraction of the attention devoted to last Friday's issue.

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