Paul McGinley believes Augusta National had all the evidence they needed to issue a penalty after Brooks Koepka and his caddie Rickie Elliott seemed to advise Gary Woodland’s caddie about what club he hit on his approach to the 15th green.
You don’t have to be a lip reader to see Elliott mouth the word “five” twice, while it’s also been pointed out that Koepka, before taking his glove off, seems to gesture a five with his hand in his playing partner’s direction prior to Woodland’s approach.
So much of the LIV players being treated poorly by #TheMasters
First round leader Brooks Koepka should have been penalized 2 shots for his caddie giving advice to a competitor. The video evidence couldn’t be more clear, but the players lied, so @TheMasters decided no penalty.🤮 pic.twitter.com/y8UPG2gDs2
— John Ziegler (@Zigmanfreud) April 6, 2023
Exactly why Koepka would want to help out Woodland in a Major with club selection is anyone’s guess but after reviewing the incident, officials at Augusta National decided there was no clear rules violation on hole 15, and after consulting the parties in question, they issued this statement:
“Following the completion of Brooks Koepka’s round, the Committee questioned his caddie and others in the group about a possible incident on No. 15.
“All involved were adamant that no advice was given or requested. Consequently, the Committee determined that there was no breach of the Rules.”
McGinley, who was speaking on Golf Channel, believes the Committee has missed a trick in terms of setting an high-profile stand against a practice that the Dubliner believes to be commonplace on tour.
“It’s very obvious,” McGinley said. “It’s staggering that they’ve denied it because the evidence is there.
“This is common practice on tour. Whether you like it or not, it happens in every professional tournament around the world, This is not considered a serious breach among the players, as long as I’ve been on tour, this is what it is.”
“If the authorities want to stamp this out and really come down on this and make an example of it and obviously they haven’t. They’ve chosen not to do that and it looked very clearly the evidence was against them.
“But you know if that’s the case, I think a lot of players in the field, if they are putting their hand on hearts, there would be a lot of penalties out there today with what went on and other groups as well. We just happened to see it on camera.”
Free from a potential two-shot penalty, Woodland signed for a 68 while Koepka looked back to his brilliant best with a seven-under 65 to grab a share of the lead after the opening day. Quizzed post-round about the possible rules breach, the four-time Major winner had this to say on the incident;
“Yeah, we looked at it when we got back in,” Koepka said. “[Gary Woodland and his caddie] had no idea what we were hitting. They didn’t even know because — I know that fact because GW asked me what we hit walking off, when we were walking down. So that’s all I can give you.”
Meanwhile, McGinley’s fellow Golf Channel presenter Brandel Chamblee said overall, Thursday at Augusta was a day that he felt flew in the face of the Tournament’s Co-Founder, Bobby Jones.
Chamblee tweeted; “Bobby Jones was known to have called penalties on himself that cost him majors… there’s a reason the highest honour given by the USGA is the Bobby Jones award… I think he would have been disappointed today.”
McGinley added; “I don’t think there’s a player in the field hand on heart who could say that they or their caddie at some stage hasn’t either taken the hand off the club so the other player could see it or something.
“Whether you like it or not, I mean, I’m a stickler for the rules, and we’re all sticklers for the rules. But it’s just not seen as a serious breach.”
What did you think of the Koepka rules incident?
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