As we all saw in this yearâ€™s U.S. Open, sometimes rules officials make a decision that almost no one agrees with except other rules officials.
And sometimes, rules officials make an inadvertent blunder while trying to do the right thing.
That was the case in this yearâ€™s OGA State Amateur Championship, when OGA Executive Director Mark Felder made what he thought was the correct decision only to have it nag at him, leading him to a too-late check of the rules decisions book and the wrong golfer playing in the quarterfinals of the State Amateur Championship at Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club.
Hereâ€™s what happened. Jared Strathe of Owasso teed off in the round of 16 not certain if he won that morningâ€™s match if he was going to withdraw and race to Edmond for a 1 p.m. tee time in an AJGA event at Oak Tree Country Club. He did win and did decide to withdraw to compete in the AJGA.
Felder, learning of his intention to withdraw, allowed him to forfeit his round of 16 victory over Drew Posada of Shawnee so there would not be a hole in the bracket for the quarterfinals. Strathe conceded to Posada, but it was after the match.
When Strathe withdrew, Felder advanced Posada in a win by default. Posada then defeated Wesley Jackson of Fort Gibson 7 and 6 to advance to the semifinals.
Trouble is, Posada should not have been able to play in that match because Strathe withdrew after the match was completed, which is not allowed under Rule 2-4/19 in the decisions book, which addresses that exact situation. Jackson should have advanced by default into the semifinals.
â€œI felt awful about it,â€ said Felder, who called Jackson, apologized and told him he would be exempt as the No. 2 seed into the 2017 State Amateur at Southern Hills Country Club. To Jacksonâ€™s credit, he told Felder not to worry about it, that he had had his chance to advance in the loss to Posada.
â€œWe always try to rule in favor of the players,â€ Felder said. â€œI felt terrible after I learned I had made a mistake, and thought the only way to rectify it would be to make him exempt into next yearâ€™s event. He could have made a fuss about it but he was very gracious.â€
– Ken MacLeod