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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 July, 2003, 20:34 GMT 21:34 UK
Pundits back disqualified pair
By Matthew Slater and Ed King
BBC Sport at the Open

Mark Roe
Mark could have won the Open and now he's going home with nothing
Sam Torrance

Sam Torrance led a chorus of condemnation for the R&A's decision to disqualify England's Mark Roe and Sweden's Jesper Parnevik from the Open at Sandwich on Saturday.

Torrance, Europe's victorious captain at the 2002 Ryder Cup, was left fuming by the tournament organisers' ruling that Roe and playing partner Jesper Parnevik must be kicked out of the event after an innocent mix-up over their score cards.

Roe, who carded a 67 on Saturday that would have been good enough for a tie for third going into the final round, failed to swap cards with the Swede before their round started.

By failing to notice the error until it was too late, the pair had effectively posted incorrect score cards and were disqualified when the R&A opted to apply the letter of the law.

"I think the R&A has been weak," said Torrance. "In my opinion they should have reinstated both Mark and Jesper. In fact, the whole saga should never have come out.

"There is no doubt about the rules, we all know that, but there have been precedents.

"Look at Bobby Locke (the 1957 champion who putted his ball from the wrong spot), he'd marked his card but he wasn't disqualified!

"I'm very disappointed with the decision. You can't put it into any perspective - it's just too sad.

"Mark could have won the Open and now he's going home with nothing."

There are certain occasions where common sense should prevail, and sadly here it won't
Mark James

Torrance's predecessor as European Ryder Cup captain, Mark James, was in complete agreement.

"My man of the day is Mark Roe," said James. "But that won't do him much good as he's on his way home.

"His disqualification was insane. There are certain occasions where common sense should prevail, and sadly here it won't.

"There was no cheating involved. It was just an honest mistake and one that is devastating for a player like Mark.

"Bear in mind how he qualified for the Open with his display at Loch Lomond last week. And after shooting a 67 on this course he was in contention for a top-10 finish on Sunday."

Ken Brown was another to be amazed by the whole affair.

"The rules are cut and dry - there are no grey areas," said Brown.

"But sometimes you have to take a step back and say 'this is just daft'.

"Make no mistake about it - he had a chance to win the Open. Now we'll never know.

"If they had spotted the error in the scorers' hut there wouldn't have been a problem. They would have scrubbed it all out and written the corresponding scores in.

The odds against this happening are enormous
Ken Brown

"The R&A and all involved would have been perfectly happy with that. But nobody spotted it - and to be honest I find that remarkable.

"The first thing you do when you get on the course is swap cards. And then you look at the piece of paper 18 times as you mark down your scores.

"The name of the player is at the top of it - it's pretty obvious.

"And even if they didn't see it, you'd have thought the caddies might have - the odds against this happening are enormous.

"Mark and Jesper's time here was up the moment they stepped outside the hut - and it's just a very disappointing end to a terrific day of golf."

Links to more The Open 2003 stories


Who is to blame for the scorecard mix-up that saw Mark Roe and Jesper Parnevik disqualified?
Roe and Parnevik
The scorers
8352 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion






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