Hole-by-Hole Scores: The Player’s Responsibility

By Elise Kain, USGA
June 3, 2014

Signing an incorrect score card during U.S. Open sectional qualifying cost Landon Michelson the opportunity to play off for a spot in the championship, but he demonstrated integrity by alerting the Committee as soon as he realized the error. (USGA/Scott A. Miller)

Amateur Landon Michelson was disqualified under Rule 6-6d for returning a score lower than actually taken in the second round of a U.S. Open sectional qualifier June 2 at Quail Valley Golf Club in Vero Beach, Fla.

In individual stroke play, Rule 6-6 assigns the player specific responsibilities regarding their score card. The competitor needs to make sure of the following:

1. The score for each hole is correct.

2. The competitor’s marker has signed the score card.

3. The competitor has signed the score card.

4. The score card is returned to the Committee as soon as possible.

These responsibilities fall upon the competitor alone and, once the score card is returned to the Committee, no alterations are permitted. The competitor cannot be penalized for tabulating their total score incorrectly, as the Committee is responsible for the addition of the individual hole-by-hole scores.

On the 11th hole at Quail Valley, Michelson three-putted for a bogey-5. However, he mistakenly signed for a 4 on the hole. Michelson returned his score card to the Committee and left the scoring area. Upon seeing his second-round score posted incorrectly – a 70 instead of the 71 he thought he shot – and realizing he may have returned an incorrect score card, he sought out the Committee. It was discovered Michelson returned a lower score on the 11th hole than what he had taken and he was disqualified. 

The Rules place this great responsibility solely upon the competitor because, ultimately, only the competitor knows their score on each hole. While the penalty turned out to cost Michelson an opportunity to play off for a spot in the U.S. Open, by seeking out the Committee after learning of the potential error, Michelson demonstrated his integrity and the spirit in which the game of golf is played.

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