Cameron Smith says the farcical rules blunder he witnessed on the Asian Tour gives golf a 'bad image' as he urged rules officials to make sure it doesn't happen again.
In case you missed it Smith was involved in a heated rules controversy during the final round of the Hong Kong Open.
The Aussie and eventual champion Ben Campbell were aghast watching the behaviour of Thai golfer Phachara Khongwatmai on the 16th hole.
Campbell could be heard loudly remonstrating with multiple rules officials and Smith was stood with his hands on his hips.
The whole affair lasted approximately 15 minutes. The Asian Tour have since released a statement saying a mistake was made.
Smith is still a bit perturbed by the incident, judging by his comments to Australian reporters ahead of the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland Golf Club in Brisbane.
Smith said: "I've had a fair bit of time to think about it. I'm still very confused at what happened, to be honest.
"I guess my idea of the rules, they were probably broken. But that's not up to me, there were plenty of officials there seeing what happened."
The controversy was over Khongwatmai's behaviour after he was seen moving branches and bushes to try and get to his golf ball after he hooked his tee shot left into the thick brush.
To the naked eye it looked like a clear infraction of Rule 8.1 which states that players cannot 'move, bend or break any growing or attached natural object, immovable obstruction, integral object or boundary object, or tee-marker for the teeing area when playing a ball from that teeing area.'
Campbell went on to win.
I understand you can remove a branch that’s already broken, but can you use it to clear a heap of bush out of the way while you’re moving it? Surely if it’s covered in vines, you can’t move it? pic.twitter.com/sCJcvUQSSg— Stephen Roche (@StephenRoche100) November 12, 2023
The Asian Tour later said: "The Asian Tour has reviewed the rules incident with Phachara Khongwatmai on the 16th hole in the final round of the Hong Kong Open on Sunday.
"After carefully looking at the broadcast coverage, we have identified infractions relating to Rule 8.1.
"A private, internal review will take place by the Asian Tour to ensure we learn from this experience and avoid a recurrence of the matter."
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