14 players disqualified from Outlaw Tour event after playing from wrong tee in confusion
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14 players disqualified from Outlaw Tour event after playing from wrong tee in confusion

The Outlaw Tour is still running in Arizona, with the developmental tour soldiering on amid the coronavirus crisis.

However, the tour faced some controversy of its own on March 30, when the tour had to disqualify 14 players from this week's Verrado Founders Championship after the opening round.

The issue that led to the disqualifications -- approximately one-fourth of the field for this three-day event -- was players teeing off from the wrong tee box on the par-3 third hole at host Verrado Golf Club in Buckeye, Ariz. The confusion stemmed from the tee box for Monday play being set at 204 yards, but the scorecard for the players read 222 yards.

When the first group in question played from the wrong tee, they were being watched by a subsequent group, who then did the same thing. The original group was playing behind public play, as the course was not closed for the event. All told, four threesomes and a twosome appeared to violate the rule.

Since the players in question played from the wrong tee -- 16 players from four groups in total -- they were to be disqualified under the Rules of Golf for playing from a wrong tee and then not fixing it before going to the next hole. If they had realized their error and gone back to the correct tee to play out the hole, their score would count plus a two-stroke penalty. However, once the groups in question teed off on the next hole, they were going to be disqualified.

The disqualified players lost their entry fee for the event, which was $295 for amateurs, $775 for professional members and $875 for non-member pros.

Tournament director Jesse Burghart released a statement on Facebook to explain and defend his decision to disqualify the players who made the mistake.

“I stand by my decision to uphold the integrity of the game and the Rules of Golf…Penalty for breach of rules is disqualification. It’s very black and white and one of the most important rules to follow," he said in part. "I’ve heard all the name calling and peanut gallery remarks. At the end of the day we are supposed to be professional golfers. Ultimately it’s your decision to be one or not."

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

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