TOLEDO, Ohio – Golf, it is often said, is the cruelest game. Rules set in place for a century or more sometimes make little sense. Some of the rules are so obscure that even veteran golfers and tournament officials are unaware of their existence, which is ironic – and often unfortunate - because golf is also the one sport in which players mostly police themselves and integrity is considered its most important virtue.
Sadly, the sport's archives are littered with stories of inadvertent rules violations that have resulted in lost tournaments, broken hearts and even crushed careers.
It has happened at the sport’s highest level, such as the 1968 Masters. There, Roberto De Vicenzo famously missed a chance at a playoff with Bob Goalby when De Vicenzo’s playing partner, Tommy Aaron, marked par on a hole for De Vicenzo when he had made birdie. De Vicenzo did not catch the miscue and signed for the wrong score, which stood.
And it has happened at high school events, such as the Oct. 9 girls Division 1 District Tournament at Heatherdowns Country Club in South Toledo, where 10 teams vied for two spots in this weekend’s state golf championship tournament.