The #1 ranked golfer in the world didn’t have a pleasant first round of the 2012 Masters on the course, and it almost got a whole lot worse off of it.
He shot a 3-over par 75, but Augusta National faxes copies of the player-signed scorecards to a location that officially records those scores. That’s when the trouble started. According to ESPN.com:
“Luke Donald avoided disqualification from the Masters on Thursday when it was determined his first-round score was improperly entered in the tournament’s scoring system because a fax machine produced a smudged number.
Had Donald really signed for a 73 when shooting a 75, he would have been disqualified. The error occurred at the par-4 fifth hole, where Donald three-putted for a bogey 5 and acknowledged as much after the round. But the score went down as a 3 in the scoring system because officials read it as a 3 — not the 5 that Donald told them was written on the card.”
Fortunately the error was detected, Donald had signed for the proper (higher) score and the error was corrected. Yesterday’s playing conditions were very wet after heavy rains had suspended practice play on Tuesday so lots of muddy golf balls were in play.
Is there a better way to prevent such errors? Is there better technology available for transmitting scores than using fax machines that (presumably) only detect and print in black and white? How can such an error be better detected? Is there a way for an official scorer to be present at Augusta National during tournament play so that scores don’t have to be transmitted electronically?