Cameron Smith still upset by rules blunder: "They need to be more on top of it"

Cameron Smith appears to still be upset with the farcical rules blunder which occurred during the final round of the Hong Kong Open on the Asian Tour.

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Tue, 21 Nov 2023
Cameron Smith still upset by rules blunder: "They need to be more on top of it"

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."

He added:

"Hopefully they can just learn from it and really not let it happen again.
"For golf being such an etiquette kind of sport, I think it's a bad image for golf. They need to be more on top of it than what they were for sure."

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. 

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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