Tragedy hits Ghei, disqualified for infringement in second round

March 1st, 2008 - 4:21 pm ICT by admin  

V. Krishnaswamy
Gurgaon, March 1 (IANS) Tragedy befell Gaurav Ghei minutes after he came back from a sensational seven-under 65 that in normal circumstances would have put him in contention at the Johnnie Walker Classic at the DLF Golf and Country Club here. The 65 saw him climb from two-under to nine-under and from overnight 48th place to tied second, one behind overnight leaders Shiv Kapur and Unho Park, who were yet to tee off when the news first broke about the possible disqualification of Gaurav.

Chief referee John Paramor and his colleagues, who took Gaurav into the TV compound to watch the tapes with them, took more than an hour before they came to the conclusion that the “ball had indeed moved”.

“So in effect he signed for a score lower than what he had played (in the event of taking the penalty) and was therefore disqualified,” said Paramor officially.

A devastated Ghei, three-time winner on the Asian Tour, issued a one sentence statement. “It’s deeply disappointing and it’s a shame that all the people around and the referee did not spot the incident near the 18th green,” said Ghei.

But the irony is that in case someone, and Ghei had taken a penalty - one or two shots -he would have missed the cut, as he was then two-under, which was the cut mark.

Ghei’s second shot found the cartpath and stopped at the edge, from where he got a relief. After he dropped, he was ready for the third shot, when his actions - putting the club on the ground in the manner of addressing it - may have caused the ball to move ever so slightly.

The TV replays seen by the chief referee indicated that the ball had apparently moved, albeit a very small distance.

“Very clearly the people around and Gaurav Ghei missed it,” added Paramor.

“If he had seen the ball move and replaced it to the original spot, he would have incurred a one shot penalty. In the event of him not doing that and playing it would have meant a two-shot penalty,” said Pararmor.

The sequence that unfolded this morning was such that the chief referee got a text message regarding a “possible infringement” from one of his colleagues (in England), who saw it on television late last night.

“The message came at 6 a.m. and there was no way I could get to the TV tapes to check it out,” said Paramor. “I wanted to see the tape myself before going to Gaurav or coming to any conclusion.”

By the time Paramor saw the tape, Ghei had already teed off at 8.10 a.m.

“I got to see the tape and discussed it with my colleagues and realised that there was indeed a movement, albeit very small. It was just about a centimetre, less than a inch.”

“As I saw Gaurav climb up the leaderboard, I was just saying to myself, ‘Oh my god, no…’ I called up a senior colleague in UK to see what could be done or if there was ay way we could see (interpret) the rules, but there was nothing. We only had to wait for Gaurav to come back and see the tapes,” said Paramor, who waited for Ghei outside the recorder’s room.

“I took him with us to watch the tape and here we are…”

“If there was anything we could do, I would not be here talking to you about this painful incident,” added Paramor.

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