Gary Player and Bob Charles, teamed as playing partners, were disqualified Friday from the first round of the $600,000 Senior PGA Chrysler Cup tournament for failing to follow the tournament's alternate play format.
The tournament, which pits four teams of international players against four pairs of U.S. players, utilizes an alternating playing format for each of its three rounds. On Friday, the players played an alternate shot format, which led to Player's and Charles' confusiuon and subsequent disqualification.The blunder came off the first tee. Player and Charles were matched against the U.S. pair of Al Geiberger and Mike Hill as the day's first group.
After Player teed off, Charles neglected to play Player's second shot as the rules specify. Instead, he hit his own ball for his second shot, thinking that alternate play then followed after the best ball had been established.
Player and Charles realized their mistake on the second hole, and putted out before turning themselves into officials. If they had caught their mistake before the second hole, they could have re-marked their tee shots with a two-stroke penalty and continued their round on Prestancia's Tournament Players Course.
Geiberger and Hill were awarded five match-victory points and the U. S., which leads the annual series 4-1, took a 12.5 to 7.5 lead following the opening round.
"I've never played this format before," said Charles. "I didn't read the fine print. I've never heard of this competition before, and as far as I'm concerned, I don't want to hear about it again."
Player agreed that it was a tricky adjustment and felt the penalty was too strict.
"You play every day of your life and always play your own ball and never play your opponents ball," he said. "(The disqualification) is very severe. There's nobody in the world that knows all the rules."
Lee Trevino was the first to give Player and Charles a hard time for their error.