One of England’s leading amateur golfer’s Elizabeth Mallett took the unprecedented decision yesterday to stop playing during the English Women’s Amateurwhen she was well set to make her challenge for the title - amidst allegations that she was singled out by referees and the tournament director for not complying with the pace of play policy – whilst other competitors in the field seemingly similarly guilty of slow play went unpunished.
At the conclusion of her third round Elizabeth was told she would incur a one shot penalty for slow play that triggered her subsequent decision to stop playing.
Elizabeth commented afterwards: “After what I had been put through during the last seven holes of the third round, I lost complete trust in the quality of the refereeing in this event and was latterly shocked by the seemingly biased decision making of the England Golf tournament director. Faced with the prospect of more of the same during the final round, I decided to stop playing in the tournament at a point when winning the event was well within my sights and capabilities.”
The England international Mallett, who has just returned to England after spending four years competing in the highest level of NCAA college golf in the USA explained her grievances, but felt she had been made a scapegoat. At the point of the rules officials intervention, Elizabeth was enjoying a good spell of golf and was 4 under par pointing out, “I’d taken less shots that anyone on the course until that point.”
“Any other golfer faced with the same situations and lies that I found myself over holes 12 – 14 would have taken their time to work out what to do as well.
To give this some context, the previous evening I had experienced putting a ball off the 16th green after it had virtually come to rest alongside the hole. In my book it wasn’t slow pace of play at all – I’ve just spent four years in college golf in the USA so know all about the realities of slow play,” Elizabeth said.
As she walked off the 18th green having made a birdie 3, Mallett was confronted by the chief referee who informed her that she had apparently taken 65 seconds over the approach shot and as a result, was to incur a one shot penalty. When the referee was asked to confirm when had actually started timing the shot in question, the official was unable to answer with any clarity – highlighting the inconsistency involved. Mallett then called over the tournament director to witness the post round showdown with the chief referee overstepping the mark when he suggested that she should talk over her pre shot routine with her coach.
Mallett also highlighted the level of misinformation and discrepancies that the tournament director had received from both the referees involved - in comparison with their on course statements made to her by both of them. She was told there were no circumstances for an appeal as the committee had made their decision. She suggested a review period of thirty minutes to allow time for time to reconsider pointing out the lack of clarity she was given on timing.
As things unfolded over the lunchbreak, Mallett logged all the other remaining group timings - it became obvious that all groups left out on the course were all similarly out of position. The following group finished their round at 2.01 p.m. some 29 minutes later than their allotted time - in comparison with the 9 minute delay involved in Mallett’s group (five minutes of which had been taken up when she asked for an on course ruling). The tournament director was aware that Mallett would consider it unfair if similar penalties were not given to all of the remaining players on the course and was later told that he was happy with their timings. All remaining groups were at least 30 minutes over their allotted times.
Mallett concluded by saying: “To be the only player who was subjected to a one stroke penalty, when everyone in the final four groups also finished over their time, some 2 holes behind us, makes the penalty against me difficult to justify. “
Kelsey MacDonald Wears Golf Ball Dress For Charity. Read More