Rules problems just seem to find Padraig Harrington on both sides of the Atlantic.
In Sunday’s final round of the Wells Fargo Championship, Harrington was accused of teeing in front of the markers on the par-3 13th hole.
Harrington, who was facing disqualification under Rule 11-4, was notified of the issue when he entered the scoring area and Slugger White, the Vice President for Rules and Competition for the PGA Tour was waiting for him.
White notified Harrington that a marshal on the 13th tee had contacted Jon Brendel, another rules official, and told him that he believed that Harrington was ahead of the markers.
When Harrington was on the 16th green, both Brendel and White went to look at the 13th tee and had a difficult time determining which divot was Harrington’s and then went to the TV monitors to determine if anything on the tape could provide any guidance and could not tell either way if Harrington had violated the rule.
So after signing his card, Harrington, White, Brendel and playing competitor Phil Mickelson – who Harrington asked to come along – went directly to the 13th tee.
The first issue was trying to identify which divot was Harringtons.
“We weren’t 100% sure that was the exact divot,” White said when they looked around the tee. “We looked around and looked around. There’s all kind of divots up there,”
Harrington also explained to White that he was stepping in a divot when he was teeing off and nothing was identifiable showing two divots.
After about 10 minutes on the 13th tee, the group went to the TV monitors to determine if they could see something that would be conclusive, they didn’t.
“It’s your call because we weren’t here,” White said to Harrington. “And he was perfectly fine with that, as was I and as was Phil .”
Harrington and Mickelson never felt that Harrington had violated the rule.
“It wasn’t conclusive and there was nothing wrong that you could see,” Mickelson said. “There’s not TV evidence, it just happens.”
Harrington never thought he was in front of the marker, especially when he had already moved the ball back once because he thought it was too close to the line.
“It was fairly tight, but it was inconclusive,” Harrington said. “Maybe I got lost in the moment, but the caddies and Phil are not going to get lost in the moment.”
Harrington never thought he was in a situation where his integrity was in question or that there was any question in his mind that he violated the rule.
“There’s no doubt it is inconclusive,” Harrington said. “I’m one to tee way back, but I was pushing it up there, was trying to get my 6‑iron up there. Next time I’ll make sure I give it a good yard instead of trying to – such is life, as I said. It is inconclusive, and there’s not much we can do about it. There’s no penalty. “