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Equipment violation causes DQ in U.S. Four-Ball quarterfinal
Ty Gingerich used a putter with grips too close together (James Gilbert, USGA)
Ty Gingerich used a putter with grips too close together (James Gilbert, USGA)

This one had to be tough to swallow.

On Wednesday morning, Quarterfinalists and University of Cincinnati teammates Ty Gingerich and Cole Harris were disqualified when it was determined that Gingerich had a non-conforming putter grip.

According to a USGA statement:

“Prior to this morning’s resumption of the quarterfinal match between Evan Beck/Dan Walters and Ty Gingerich/Cole Harris, it was brought to our attention that Gingerich had used a non-conforming putter grip in violation of Part 2, 3c of the Equipment Rules. The violation resulted in a disqualification.”

I can guarantee that thousands of people inadvertently violate the same rule every day. But they aren't under the spotlight of the final matches of a major USGA competition. Gingerich's putter has a split grip, but the distance between the two grips is supposed to be at least 1.5 inches. (His grips were less than an inch apart.)

In a four-ball competition, this results in a disqualification penalty for the side. The team of Beck and Walters -- who were 1-up in the match with two holes to play when the match was suspended due to darkness -- advanced to the semifinals, where they would lose to Drew Kittleson and Drew Stoltz, 2 and 1.

There was a silver lining for the disqualified team, however. Because Gingerich unknowingly violated the rule, the side still gets to keep its quarterfinalist results in the competition, which means they are exempt into next year’s championship.

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ABOUT THE U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, the newest USGA championship, was played for the first time in 2015 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif. The event, which has no age restriction, is open to those with a Handicap Index of 5.4 or lower. It is one of 14 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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