Graeme McDowell has joked that there’s no chance of him becoming a Chief Referee on the European Tour despite earning a distinction in passing a Tour ‘Rules Test’.
The European Tour emailed a quiz to all Tour members inviting them to test their Rules of Golf knowledge with McDowell among nine to excel in the test.
Others to pass the exam include Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Soren ‘600 Tour Events’ Kjeldsen, Tournament Players Committee Chairman David Howell and Scotland’s Russell Knox.
“I think I managed to get 28 out of 30 questions correct and the Tour gave me a distinction for my effort,” said McDowell as I walked with him during a 9-hole practice round on Tuesday at the Emirates Club ahead of this week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
“I received congratulations from a chief referee and I think the Tour is going to present each of us with an award of sorts.
“What the Tour initiated is a great idea as its educational and something we can have a bit of a laugh and some craic with, as well.
“It’s clearly important we know the rules as I recall when I was a kid my dad (Kenny), as a Junior Conveyor at the club, would always stress to me that knowing the rules was important.
“Certainly, at the amateur level, where there is a lot of self-policing it is important you know the rules whereas out here on the Tour we are very spoilt because if you are uncertain about a rule, then you just call for a referee.
“It is so important these days as there is a TV camera on you all the time and guys are scared to take basic drops as you don’t want to get it wrong.”
It was then mentioned to GMac the worldwide furore following Patrick Reed’s actions during the second round of last month’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
GMac’s response? “Even your basic 25-handicapper knows that you are not supposed to improve your lie, and who is to know what was going on in his [Reed’s] brain.”
McDowell said he had not been advised by the Tour as to the two rules questions he got wrong but clearly he enjoyed the challenge.
“There was a lot of decision type questions and also a few random type situations, and unusual situations so it was a very good test of your knowledge of the rules,” he added.
“Like I say, it was a good initiative and if you can have a bit of fun with it then it is also educational as it will help guys know what to do in certain situations in lieu of calling in an official as that only slows down the pace of play.”
So, what chance then of McDowell becoming a future Chief Referee?
He answered that question by jokingly giving this journalist an immediate two-stroke penalty and the threat of a life suspension from the Tour.