USGA Four Ball Team Disqualified For Putter Grip Violation

An obscure rule was enough to see the team eliminated from one of the organisation's biggest amateur events

Close-up of a player holding a putter
(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to a tweet from the page Monday Q Info, a golfer has fallen foul of an obscure USGA rule that led to his team's disqualification from one of the organisation's biggest amateur tournaments.

The incident occurred at the US Amateur Four-Ball (opens in new tab), one of the biggest USGA amateur tournaments, which is taking place this week at the Country Club of Birmingham in Alabama.

Monday Q Info shared a screenshot which read: “If you have two grips on the putter they have to be a minimum of 1.5 inches apart. His were 1.25 inches apart. One of the USGA officials saw it yesterday afternoon. Went back to the hotel to confirm the rule. Measured this AM in the parking lot and DQ’d him.” The account holder carried out further investigations and confirmed the story. He said: “I found the guy who calls networks on rules violations. He is playing in the USGA 4-ball and called out a guy for having his grips on his putter…. A QUARTER OF AN INCH too close together.”

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While that may sound like a harsh reason for disqualification, and it's definitely not one of the most commonly known golf gear rules, the USGA does indeed stipulate the minimum grip distance requirement. In a section of the rules on its website headed "Two Grips" (opens in new tab) it reads: "A putter may have two grips provided each is circular in cross-section, the axis of each coincides with the axis of the shaft, and they are separated by at least 1.5 inches (38.1 mm)."

Social media reaction to the disqualification was mixed, with some questioning why the rule exists at all, and others less sympathetic, suggesting the player - who would have been using a long putter - should have been aware of the violation. You can check out some of the reactions below.

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The US Amateur Four-Ball, as its name suggests, sees players compete in the four ball format, where a team of two golfers each play their own ball, with the teammate with the lower score on each hole providing that team’s score for that hole.

Mike Hall
Mike Hall

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.