|low graphics version | feedback | help|
|You are in: Sport: Golf|
Sunday, 14 May, 2000, 18:46 GMT 19:46 UK
Belfry leader disqualified
Overnight leader Padraig Harrington was dramatically disqualified from the Benson and Hedges International Open before his final round at the Belfry on Sunday for forgetting to sign his scorecard on Thursday.
The news was announced half an hour before Harrington was due to tee off.
The Irishman had been five strokes clear of Jose Maria Olazabal and Welshman Phil Price.
They were left as joint leaders, and it was Olazabal who made the most a dramatic series of events to walk away with the £166,600 first prize.
On Saturday, Harrington had shot a course record 64 which included eight birdies, and going into Sunday was in line for the biggest win of his career.
The European Tour's senior referee Andy McFee explained: "The Belfry Hotel spoke to us this morning and asked if we could get the cards of all potential winners so they could frame them.
"In the process our staff noticed that while his first-round card had two signatures on it, neither was Padraig's.
"Nowhere is there an attestation from the player that the round is accurate and that is a breach of the rules. The penalty is disqualification."
McFee spoke to Harrington as he was warming up on the driving range and took him alongside to give them the devastating news.
"We all know he is an extremely level-headed person and he knew there was nowhere else to go. I suspect he is desperately disappointed - we all are.
"I asked him to show me his signature and he couldn't. For some reason Michael Campbell had signed all three cards for the group and it was his signature where Harrington's was supposed to be.
"This goes to the very core of the game. Golf is not played in the constant gaze of a referee and because of that it is very easy to do things that aren't correct.
"You have to hold up your card to the rest of the world. It's a core
After the off-course drama, Olazabal and won the title for the second time thanks to a second successive 66 highlighted by an eagle on the long 17th.
It was Spaniard's first victory since the US Masters 13 months ago and since he broke his hand banging a hotel wall in frustration at the US Open last June.
The 1990 B&H winner held off the challenge of Welshman Price to win by three with a 13 under par total of 275.
Nobody else was in the hunt with Scot Andrew Coltart and Argentina's Jose Coceres sharing third place five strokes further back.
Collated final scores
275 JM Olazabal (Spa) 75 68 66 66 (£166,600 prize money)
|^^ Back to top|
News Front Page | World | UK | UK Politics | Business | Sci/Tech | Health | Education |