Association enforces scorekeeping rule
TAMPA, Fla. -- People who disagree with the Supreme Court's decision to allow Casey Martin to ride a golf cart in PGA Tour events now have more fodder for the "Where will it all end?" argument.
Likewise, the other side can shake its head at the latest ammunition, too.
The disabilites vs. golf rules debate has heated up in Tampa thanks to Matthew Ross, an autistic boy who is something of a natural on the golf course.
Matthew has won junior tournament titles in the 6-8 age group and regularly breaks 100, even though he can't tell you any of his scores.
And that's the problem, according to the Greater Tampa Junior Golf Association, which has ruled Ross ineligible because he can't keep his own scorecard.
Once a golfer reaches the age of 9, Rule 6-6 (d) in the Rules of Golf states, in part: "The competitor is responsible for the correctness of the score recorded for each hole on his card."
Susan Ross, Matthew's mother, has asked for a waiver, but the GTJGA won't budge.
"These guys treat it like a business," Susan Ross told Golf World magazine. "Matthew just wants to play."
"If we make an exception, we are undermining the integrity of the competition," association president Brian Code told The Tampa Tribune. "I have no idea where this would stop. The rules are very, very specific."
Susan Ross is frustrated because golf has been her son's only true outlet from the lonely world of autism. Early in his life, Matthew was confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak. Doctors didn't give much hope for improvement.
But Matthew took a turn for the better at age 3, and Susan Ross noticed his excitement whenever they drove past a driving range. Hoping for a breakthrough, she took Matthew to a teaching pro.
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