From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Just another reason why the one-in-four rule won’t work on the PGA Tour

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On paper the LPGA’s one-in-four rule (requiring LPGA players to play every tournament on the schedule once every four years) seems like a good idea. It allows tournaments to leave out to wishing and hoping of landing a Michelle Wie or Paula Creamer and understand that, not matter how much the player may dislike the course hosting the event, they still have an obligation to show up at least once every four years.

The idea, which has been knocked around by the PGA Tour, is something many see as the future of men’s professional golf. While it’d be great to see Tiger Woods show up in San Antonio or Reno once every four years, the idea just doesn’t seem to make sense when you realize that the players are in fact their own bosses. They call the shots and make the decisions on the courses they play.

It’s part of what makes golf (as well as tennis) such a unique sport. Forcing a player to play an event due to a rule just doesn’t make sense, no matter how badly you’d like your stars to show up for every tournament. You not only risk burning them out each year by playing a couple extra events; you also run the risk of alienating them.

LPGA player Angela Stanford is now one of those players who will forever be alienated by the tour’s one-in-four policy.’s John Strege noted Stanford’s frustration, after she was forced to play in Mexico thanks to the LPGA policy.

Angela Stanford withdrew from the Tres Marias Championship after shooting an 85 in the first round on a course, Tres Marias Residential Golf Club, to which she reportedly has an aversion. Then, via Twitter, she held the LPGA responsible, blaming its one-in-four rule that requires its members play every tournament at least once every four years. Here are consecutive posts she made on Twitter on Friday:

“For all of those alternates who didn’t get in this week I sincerely apologize. In 10 years I have never started and not finished.”

“Blame ur tour not me. I would have given u my spot in a heartbeat and I don’t have $25,000 to hand to the lpga. Once again I’m truly sorry”

While I understand the LPGA’s reasoning behind the the one-in-four, these are the risks you take with the rule. Sure, they’re once-in-a-blue-moon situations; but they still look bad for the LPGA. Stanford obviously wasn’t a fan of the tournament, fine. But that doesn’t give her the right to WD because she’s frustrated with the course and a rule.

Could you imagine if the PGA Tour enforced this rule and had to deal with Tiger or Phil shooting a high score just to get out of playing the second round of an event because he disliked the course? I’m almost certain a couple of players would do it as a way to stick it to Finchem and the policy.

If anything, it’s situations like this that should have the PGA Tour holding off on enforcing their own one-in-four policy in the future.


Written by Jonathan Wall

05/03/2010 at 4:18 pm

Posted in LPGA, PGA Tour

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by JR Wall. JR Wall said: Just another reason why the one-in-four rule won't work on the PGA Tour: […]

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