THE European Tour’s Final Series is set to be played out against a backdrop of controversy after Englishman Simon Dyson was ordered to appear before a three-man disciplinary panel over his disqualification from last week’s BMW Masters.
The move follows Dyson being charged with a serious breach of Tour regulations and could lead to the 2009 Dunhill Links champion being hit with a three-month suspension. He has refuted claims he knowingly broke the Rules – either on this occasion or in the past.
Dyson, a six-times Tour winner, was joint second in last week’s inaugural Final Series event in Shanghai when he was disqualified for signing for an incorrect score in the second round. The 35-year-old failed to add a two-shot penalty after an incident on the eighth hole when he touched the line of his putt after marking his ball.
Having reviewed reports of the incident at Lake Malaren, Scot David Garland, the director of Tour operations, has decided a disciplinary hearing is needed.
A three-man committee, comprising a lawyer, an ex-player and an experienced sports administrator, will probably meet at the end of November. The last time such a committee met under similar circumstances was three years ago, when Elliot Saltman was given a three-month suspension after he was found to have repeatedly marked his ball incorrectly at a Challenge Tour event in Russia.
A statement issued by the Tour read: “Under the Rules of Golf, he [Dyson] was found to have breached Rule 16-1a, which states that a player must not touch his line of putt.
“He subsequently failed to add a two-shot penalty to his score when signing his card, and, as a result, was disqualified under Rule 6-6d. Television viewers alerted the European Tour to the incident, which took place on the eighth green during the second round. At the conclusion of the tournament, and, having reviewed subsequent reports from tournament director Mikael Eriksson and chief referee John Paramor, it was decided by David Garland, director of tour operations for the European Tour, that further action was required under the European Tour’s Code of Behaviour and Disciplinary Procedure, which states: 3. Serious Breach. If, at the conclusion of an investigation into an alleged breach of the Code by a member, it is evident that a serious breach of the Code may have occurred, then a disciplinary hearing shall take place before an independent disciplinary panel.
“Under the European Tour regulations, the three-person panel will comprise an independent lawyer, an ex-member of the European Tour or current player on the European Senior Tour and an experienced sports administrator.
“The player in question will then be asked to appear before the hearing that will be convened on at least 21 days’ notice to the player.
“If, following the hearing, the panel decides that a breach of the Code has been established, it shall impose a sanction that it considers appropriate having regard to the circumstances.
“Such sanctions may range from a reprimand, a censure, a fine, a suspension of membership, a suspension from participation in one or more tournaments or for a given period, or expulsion from the European Tour, or otherwise as the panel shall determine.”
Dyson, who is expected to withdraw from next week’s Turkish Airlines Open, countered the Tour’s statement by issuing his own through his management company, International Sports Management.
“I have been informed of the procedure being put in place by the Tour following my actions during the second round of the BMW Masters in Shanghai last week and am perfectly happy to co-operate with the investigation by the independent disciplinary panel,” he said.
“I would like to say at this stage that I have never deliberately broken the rules either on this occasion or in the past. It was only after I was shown the replay of my action after marking the ball on the eighth green during the second round that I realised what I had done and that I was in breach. I immediately accepted that I should be disqualified.
“My action was in no way a deliberate act with the intention of breaking the rules. It was simply an accidental mistake which I have no reservations in apologising for and particularly to my fellow professionals and the Tour for any inconvenience and embarrassment unintentionally caused.”