Ben Crane given 8-stroke penalty at Web.com Finals for having stickers on clubs
This is not how you want your playoff run to start
For the first time in nearly two decades, Ben Crane is fighting for his PGA Tour card on the Web.com Tour. This week, he was playing the second of four events in the Web.com Tour Finals at the Albertsons Boise Open. Unfortunately for him, the outing did not last very long as Crane was given two four-stroke penalties during Round 1 on Thursday and eventually disqualified on Friday.
After teeing off on the back nine on Thursday, it was discovered that Crane had two small stickers on his clubs -- one on his driver and one on his 6-iron. Crane had a conversation with a rules official who noted while playing his second hole played that each sticker meant a four-stroke penalty (two per club per hole including the hole he was on) and that he had to take the clubs out of play.
Later, Crane explained that the stickers were for launch monitor data, but they were ruled "non-conforming"
So what should have been a 68 turned into a 76 and knocked Crane way out of contention in Boise. "It's pretty hard to come back when you're 8 over before you even tee off on the second hole," Crane said.
On Friday, it got worse. Crane explained to Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio that he was disqualified before Round 2 because he did not tell his playing partners Thursday that his 6-iron was taken out of play. He said this was the rule even though his playing partners were not near him when rules officials told him he had to take it out of play.
"They were 350 yards down the fairway. I turned it over in my bag so it's just the grip sticking out. I told the official, but I never told my playing partners. [The official] goes, 'You're disqualified.'"
There was, however, some controversy over the timing of the entire thing, according to Web.com Tour VP of rules Jim Duncan.
"(On Thursday) between the 12th and the 13th holes, (rules official) Andrew Miller confirmed with (Crane) that the driver, that was made aware to us, had to be taken out of play; then he played 13 and part of 14 (carrying) the 6-iron," Duncan told PGATour.com.
"Then he came back (Friday) morning and said he knew he had the 6-iron (at the time he saw the driver) … he's got to make a declaration that that club is out of play, either to a member of the committee, which he could've told Andrew Miller, or to one of his fellow competitors. When he didn't make that declaration, at the point he knew he had to take that club out of play, that's ultimately a disqualification penalty."
So it seems as if Duncan is saying Crane didn't tell anyone he was taking the 6-iron out of play, even though he never used it. I also give props to Crane for being forthright on Friday about the timing of when he noticed the sticker on the 6-iron on Thursday.
All in all, things could have gone better for Crane, who needs a good finish in the Web.com Tour Finals to regain his PGA Tour card for the 2017-18 PGA Tour season. He finished T6 at last week's Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship.
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