'Knowing The Rules Of Golf Should Be A Badge Of Honor' - Why Rory McIlroy's Putting Coach Is Against Changing Scorecard Tradition

Jordan Spieth was recently disqualified from the Genesis Invitational over a scorecard-signing mistake, initiating a debate around whether top players should be the ones responsible for keeping track of their total

Brad Faxon and Rory McIlroy at a PGA Tour event
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy's putting coach, Brad Faxon has called for golf's scorecard rules to remain as they are following Jordan Spieth's controversial disqualification from the Genesis Invitational last week.

The fact that the American was kicked out of the Riviera Country Club event for signing an incorrect score was not the section of the debate that caused much of the frustration among fans and pro golfers - even Spieth admitted full responsibility for his mistake in a later social-media post.

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Instead, a large proportion of the angst over the decision - one that was seen two years earlier involving Wyndham Clark at the very same tournament - bore out of the fact that Spieth had to be the one keeping track of his own score at all.

Critics of the current method, which can lead to top players needlessly missing events, argue that with all of the technology involved in PGA Tour events - as well as the thousands of eyeballs watching on - players should be allowed to focus on hitting golf shots while an external party manages the total.

Others say that even if a scorecard is inaccurate after being signed for, players should be allowed to amend it at any point prior to the next round taking place. Sirius XM radio host, Jason Sobel made the point on X last week.

He said: "If there’s a solution to this, it might not be, “Players shouldn’t keep their own score,” but instead, “Extend the statute of limitations to the next day, so that leaving the scoring area isn’t an auto-DQ for signing an incorrect card.”

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Meanwhile, those who are quite happy for the rules to stay the same believe being diligent with the most important part of professional golf forces players to take accountability for their actions. Plus, that same group have pointed out that keeping track of your own score has been a tradition since the sport began.

Former PGA Tour player turned coach, Faxon, is firmly in the latter camp. And speaking to the PGA Tour's Sirius XM in the aftermath of the Genesis Invitational, he explained why.

Faxon said: "If you asked every single one of [the players] "are you OK with signing a correct scorecard while you are in the scorer's tent?" I think you're going to get a 100% response of 'yes, I think that's a good idea.'

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"I play squash and we have these 'Let' calls when a player gets in your way or kind of impedes you getting to the ball, but that's subjective, right? It's not like a clear shot that's a winner. You can get into some discrepancies there, but what number is on the scorecard is not like that. It's clear cut.

"I still love the idea that knowing the rules of golf should be a badge of honour that can help you in all of these situations. You can't get away with anything now if you're a top player because [TV] is always watching you."

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Following his disqualification on Friday, Spieth later sent a message of congratulations to tournament winner, Hideki Matsuyama along with a playful suggestion to "make sure you double check that scorecard…" in a nod to his own error.

Late on Sunday, eagle-eyed fans watching on at home had noticed a potential misdemeanour by Matsuyama himself, only for rules experts to clarify no infringement had taken place. Meanwhile, CBS Sports commentator Jim Nantz fired back at what he called "the internet police" for claiming some sort of penalty had been missed in the Japanese player's stunning comeback win.

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. An improving golfer who still classes himself as ‘one of the worst players on the Golf Monthly team’, Jonny enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.