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The Tour Report

January 7 2011

2:41 PM

Villegas DQ’d after rules violation

Watch Villegas at the 15th hole

Here's the shot that resulted in a rules violation for Camilo Villegas, eventually resulting in his disqualification at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

KAPALUA, Hawaii – Camilo Villegas was disqualified Friday morning following a rules violation during his opening round on Thursday at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Villegas was chipping up the slope toward the green at the par-5 15th when the ball twice rolled back down to him. The second time, he flicked away a loose piece of grass by the divot as the ball was still moving down the slope.

That was a violation of Rule 23-1, which states that, “When a ball is in motion, a loose impediment that might influence the movement of the ball must not be removed.”

Villegas should have taken a two-stroke penalty in addition to the double bogey 7 that he recorded. After finishing his round, he signed for an opening 72, which meant he was actually disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard.

A television viewer noticed the possible violation, which was then brought to the attention of tournament officials.

Slugger White, the PGA TOUR’s vice president of rules and competition, said he got word of the possible violation Thursday night but didn’t get a chance to watch the videotape of the shot until Friday morning.

“It was pretty obvious what happened,” White said.

“I waited for Camilo to get here this morning. The first thing he said was, ‘Am I gone?’ I said, ‘Well, yeah, but I’d like you to look at the tape. He said he’d like to look at the tape. He came over and saw it and knew right away.”

Villegas released a statement saying that he clearly violated Rule 23-1.

“After viewing the tape with Slugger White this morning, it was clear what happened,” Villegas said.

“White it is obviously a disappointing way to start the season, the rules are the rules. And when something like this happens, it’s important to me that you’re respectful of the game and the people involved.”

Villegas’ disqualification caused a shuffle in Friday’s second-round tee times. Rocco Mediate, who was originally supposed to go out as a single in the first group of the day, will now take Villegas’ vacated spot and will be paired with Ernie Els at 3:30 p.m. ET (10:30 a.m. local time).

“We talked to Rocco about it and he was very amenable (to the change),” White said.

The first tee time of the day will now be at 3:10 p.m. ET with the pairing of Jason Day and Justin Rose.

Even though it was not the way Villegas wanted to celebrate his 29th birthday Friday, White said the Colombian star took the news in stride.

“He was upfront, as big as he could possibly be about it,” White said. “Really wonderful about it. He understood and went about his business.”

Said Villegas: “Everyone involved with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions has been terrific this week, so I will work hard to earn my way back to the event next year.”

Villegas was making his second appearance in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He finished tied for 12th in 2009. – Mike McAllister

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