Golf: Jennifer Oakley suffers penalty after admitting: ‘I’ve lost my caddie’
JENNIFER Oakley suffered a senior moment at Turnberry yesterday. It cost her husband Pete, a former winner, a two-shot penalty in the over-50s Open Championship but they were still talking afterwards.
In a bizarre incident, Jennifer, who was caddying for her husband on the Ayrshire links, started following the wrong group after sheltering from the wind behind a toilet.
Instead of going down the 13th fairway, she joined up with a group as they looked for a ball in the rough at the tenth.
It led to Oakley’s group suffering an “undue delay” when they realised what had happened and the 63-year-old American was hit with a two-shot penalty under Rule 6/7. “The matter came to our attention that Pete was having some trouble on the 13th hole,” said Andy McFee, the European Tour’s senior referee.
“One of our rules officials spotted him walking back to the 13th tee and assumed he was taking a stroke and distance penalty and went to get him to pick him up on his buggy, but when he got to him, he said, “I’ve lost my caddie”.
“Pete was stood by the bunker for a good two or three minutes, then there was a couple of minutes wandering up to the tee, then a good couple of minutes for the rules official to go and get the caddie from the tenth and bring her back.
“All an all, it was at least seven minutes which is as clear a breach of the Undue Delay Rule as you can get. So a penalty of two strokes was applied.”
A red-faced Jennifer held up her hands over the embarrassing incident. “It happened because I was looking at the wrong fairway,” she said. “It’s the first time in four years that anything like this has happened – hopefully it’s the last time, too.”
Her husband, who won this title at Royal Portrush in 2004, admitted the blow had been softened by the fact he was missing the cut by a distance on 16-over-par.
“As I said to Jennifer, if you were going to do something like that, then today was the right day to do it – I might not have been laughing so much about it if the two-shot penalty had seen me miss the cut.”
While penalties for undue delays are rare, it’s actually the second one that has been handed out by the European Tour in three months.
“In the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, David Horsey stood in the middle of the fairway and hit his ball towards the boundary on the right and he was unsure if it was still in bounds or playable,” added McFee.
“He saw the crowd looking for it but just stood there for three or four minutes, didn’t play a provisional ball or anything and obviously that was a breach of the rules as well.”
Joining Oakley in making an early exit were a number of major champions, including Greg Norman, who won the Open Championship at the same venue in 1996. After thrilling his fans with an opening birdie, the Australian mis-fired thereafter and eventually signed for a 77 to finish on nine-over.
Sam Torrance (76) missed out on the same mark while Sandy Lyle’s dismal recent record in this event – he’s now missed the cut three years in a row after finishing joint-13th on his debut at Sunningdale – continued as he finished on ten-over after a 78.
Another former Masters champion, Craig Stadler, was also on 150 after an error-strewn 80, the same score carded by Wayne Grady, the 1990 USPGA champion, as he departed the scene as well on 157.
If, as expected, this was a last hurrah for Tony Jacklin, it won’t be one to remember for the 1969 Open champion. A second-round 83 left him in second-last spot in the 144-strong field on 23-over-par.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
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Wind direction: West