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What If I Attest to an Incorrect Scorecard in Golf?

by M.L. Rose
    Check your scorecard carefully before turning it in during an official competition.

    Check your scorecard carefully before turning it in during an official competition.

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    Under the United States Golf Association’s Rules of Golf, a person other than the player, known as a “marker,” is typically responsible for keeping a player’s score during a competition. At the end of the day, however, the player is responsible for presenting his score accurately to the tournament committee. Signing an incorrect scorecard carries serious penalties.

    Scorecard

    Players are furnished with scorecards at the beginning any competition that’s played according to the Rules of Golf. According to Rule 6-6b, when the round or match is over, the player should double-check the scorecard and be certain the score for each hole is correct. She should resolve any points of contention with the tournament committee, then sign the card and return it to the committee as soon as possible.

    Signing an Incorrect Scorecard

    Under Rule 6-6d, each player is “responsible for the correctness of the score recorded for each hole on his score card.” If a player signs -- known as attesting -- a card in which the score for any hole is lower than his actual performance, he is disqualified from the competition. This applies even if another person kept his score during the round. If a player signs a card in which the score for any hole is higher than his actual performance, that higher score becomes his official score for that hole.

    Total Score

    A player isn’t penalized if she turns in a scorecard in which the score of each hole is correct but the total is miscalculated. Pursuant to USGA decision 6-6d/2, the tournament committee is responsible for tabulating the total scores; the player’s only responsibility is to record each hole score correctly. However, if a player attests to the correct final score, but inadvertently leaves one of the hole scores blank, she is disqualified, according to decision 6-6d/1.

    Masters Mistake

    Roberto De Vicenzo completed four rounds of the 1968 Masters Tournament tied for the lead with Bob Goalby at 277. However, De Vicenzo’s marker during the fourth round -- playing partner Tommy Aaron -- mistakenly gave De Vicenzo a 4 on the 17th hole instead of his actual 3. De Vicenzo signed his scorecard and turned it in without double-checking his score. When the tournament committee added his score for the round, it came up with 66 rather than the correct 65, giving him a four-round total of 278. Instead of entering a playoff for the championship, De Vicenzo was given second place, even though there was no doubt that he was actually tied for first.

    About the Author

    M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.

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