A misunderstanding nearly turned into a full-blown controversy between Davis Love III and Mike Weir yesterday during the morning foursome matches at the Presidents Cup.
After Stewart Cink landed his second shot on No. 17 a mere 18 inches from the pin, Love thought he heard Weir say it was good, meaning that he conceded the putt. What Weir claimed he said was "Good shot, Stewie."
When Love picked up the ball rather than marking it, Weir protested.
"I didn't say anything to the fact it was good," he said.
Trevor Immelman, Weir's playing partner, contended to a rules official that if a player picks up a ball in match play, it is a loss of hole. In fact, a player who picks up a ball before his opponent concedes the putt is penalized a stroke in match play.
Tom Meeks, a rules official from the United States Golf Association, was brought in to make a determination. American Captain Jack Nicklaus and International Captain Gary Player also joined the conference on the green. Meeks ruled that because Love thought he heard Weir say it was good that the ball would be replaced.
In the end, Weir's gamesmanship didn't affect the outcome of the match. The hole was halved after Weir made a nine-foot birdie putt. He and Immelman eventually conceded the birdie putt to Love and Cink.
Love realized as soon as he saw Weir's face that he shouldn't have picked up the ball.
"It was my fault," Love said. "I thought I heard him say it was good."
Booz Allen Hopes to Re-Up
Booz Allen Chairman Ralph Shrader said he hopes to meet with PGA Tour officials in the next two weeks about his company's role in continuing as title sponsor of Washington's annual tour event beyond the 2006 season, when its current three-year deal runs out.
There have been published reports that one of the scheduling concepts the tour is considering is a series of tournaments for a playoff-like race leading into a mid-September tour championship. Washington and Chicago have been mentioned as possible sites for those events.
Shrader said that possibility has never come up in his discussions with the tour, but that he would have "serious pragmatic concerns about that" involving the condition of courses in the area in late summer. This year, with high heat and humidity and not much rain in August, a number of Washington area courses have had difficulty growing grass.
"I would be worried about our ability to pull it off," Shrader said of a late summer spot on the schedule. "It would be a dicey proposition."
A Portrait for Nicklaus
At Wednesday's team dinner, the American players presented captain Jack Nicklaus with a portrait of his late grandson Jake. The 17-month-old son of Steve Nicklaus died in March in a drowning accident. On Fred and Sharon Funk's recommendation, the players chose Baltimore artist Kirk Maggio, a former professional football player turned painter, to create the portrait. Steve Nicklaus and his wife Krista provided a black-and-white photo of their late son, and Krista Nicklaus chose the colors for the painting. The portrait is on display this week in the American team cabin but eventually will be given to the Nicklaus Children's Hospital in West Palm Beach.