DUBLIN, Ohio – Joost Luiten’s American debut came to a crashing and most unexpected halt when he was disqualified after the first round of the Memorial Tournament.
The 25-year-old from the Netherlands, who finished 28th on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai last year, had signed for a 4-over 76 at Muirfield Village when his day got even worse. Asked to meet with rules officials to clarify what had happened at the par-5 11th, Luiten discovered that he should have been assessed a two-stroke penalty. Because he didn’t tack them on, he was disqualified for having signed for a lower score.
Luiten’s problems began when he drove it wide left. His ball came to rest on the other side of a hazard, but the key point is: His ball was on the red line, which means it was in the hazard. As Luiten settled into his stance, the ball moved. He notified playing competitor Bobby Gates and a rules official and it was determined that because Luiten had not grounded his club, there was no penalty.
However, later the rules official, apparently working with more information, told the Dutchman that because the ball was in the hazard, there were two infractions: One for the ball moving (18-2b) and one for hitting from an incorrect position (20-7b).
The shame of it is, “He was looking so forward to his first tournament in America – and on this course,” said Luiten’s agent, Stuart Cage of International Sports Management.
Adding a nice touch to a tough story, Luiten after hitting balls and learning he had been disqualified sought out tournament host Jack Nicklaus. Luiten thanked the icon for the invitation and chance to play – even if it was just for one round.