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"But the moral arbiters of the game aren't writers who think they see something, or fans who call in after seeing what they believe are wrongs committed on TV. They're the players themselves, who are ultimately responsible for policing themselves in the one sport where players call penalties on themselves."
Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press

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"Report what you see, but do it fast"
Doug Ferguson, Associated Press

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Hard Rain    No 3    November 19, 2005
The day Michael Bamberger ruined the party
It was a lovely golf tournament. Annika Srenstam won by eight shots. Michelle Wie shared fourth place, a grand achievement. But something went wrong, very wrong.
 
It was party time at the Bighorn Golf Club (Oct.13-16). The no. 1 golfer in the world, Annika Srenstam, was supposed to show her fellow players, the 18 next best on the LPGA tour, who was in charge. For Michelle Wie, 16 years old and the world's most promising amateur, it was also a very special day. She was allowed to play with the big girls and it was her professional debut.

It was a lovely golf tournament. Annika Srenstam won by eight shots. Michelle Wie shared fourth place, a grand achievement. But something went wrong, very wrong. When exhilarated spectators left the golf course it turned out that Michelle Wie had been disqualified.

On Saturday during the third round Michelle Wie had taken a penalty drop from a bush on a hill above the seventh green. The following chip was not that good, but she saved par on the hole. So far, so good.

Sports writer Michael Bamberger, Sports Illustrated, lingered by the hole for some time. When the players had passed he stepped off the distance from where her ball was in the bush to the hole, and from where she dropped to the hole. He was not satisfied with the result and reported his findings to the rules officials.

The judges turned up and made a reconstruction. The result was that Michelle Wie was disqualified. This was probably totally correct by the rules. Wie and her caddie thought that they had been cautious when they made the drop. In perspective, though, one might think that an official should have been called when the ball was in its unplayable position.
  All this said we come to the point. Michael Bamberger didn't go to the officials until after the play on Sunday. If he had approached the officials already on Saturday, as an "honest spectator", the outcome had been different. Michelle Wie would have received a two-stroke penalty, hard enough, and we could all rejoice over a glimmering professional debut by the greatest promise in golf today.



"Report what you see, but do it fast", wrote APs reporter Doug Ferguson. A good exhortation for Michael Bamberger and every other "private detective" who happens to be in remorse. Hopefully it wasn't simple spitefulness that triggered the controversy not until the tournament was almost over?

Nobody cared about Annika Srenstam. What does it take to give this super alien her well-deserved lines in American media? Well, she has already written herself into the history books and she is in every respect the greatest. Results talk.