By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Jeff Overton was disqualified Saturday after violating rule 14-3/10.3 for using an alignment device during his round.
"It's a shame but it's the rules," said Mark Russell, PGA TOUR vice president of rules and competition. "Not much we can do about it. ... We don't like to disqualify players but if that's what the rule says, we don't have a choice."
With the field backed up at the turn during the third round, Overton was waiting to tee off on the 10th hole. While he was waiting, Overton went over to the nearby practice green to practice a few putts.
Players are allowed to practice putting or chipping in those situations. But they cannot use any kind of artificial aid. Overton used a putting aid, which violates rule 14-3/10.3: Use of rod during round for alignment or as swing aid.
"You can go to a designated practice area and chip and putt if you'd like while you are waiting to play," Russell explained. "But you cannot use an artificial device. That's what he did. The penalty for that is disqualification."
Russell said another player noticed Overton using the practice aid on the green and asked a scoring official if that was legal. The official contacted rules officials, and John Mutch, a rules officlal with expertise in equipment-related rules, was consulted.
Mutch was the official who notifiied Overton of the disqualification after Overton struck his tee shot at the 11th hole, having just parred the 10th.
"Jeff's response? I don't think he was very happy," Russell said. "I certainly would expect that."
Overton said on his Twitter feed that he was informed by a rules official that he could chip and putt while he waited, but that he was not told to avoid using an alignment device.
"If ur gonna inform someone on a rule of something a person can do, make sure u remind them of the small things they can't do," he tweeted.
Overton had entered the third round 4 under for the tournament, just six strokes off the lead. He was still at 4 under when he was disqualified.