PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Did Kamaiu Johnson commit one of the unforgivable sins in golf and deliberately sign for a lower score than he made on a hole? It depends on who you ask.
Johnson, 29, violated Rule 3.3b for signing an incorrect scorecard after the second round of the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational, and was disqualified. Johnson, a multiple-time winner on the APGA Tour, was playing on a sponsor exemption. He would have missed the cut anyway, but that is beside the point to Nick Hardy, who was in the group with Johnson along with Kyle Westmoreland, who kept his scorecard.
In Johnson’s account of things, he made a double-bogey six at the par-4 ninth hole, not a seven, en route to shooting 5-over 77 on Friday at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge, missing the cut by six strokes. ShotLink data shows Johnson had a 22½ par putt from the fringe and took four putts, missing putts of three and four feet for bogey and double bogey before tapping in a 20-inch putt for his 7.
“The amount of chances that he had to say he made a six is unfortunate because it looks like there may have been a cheating situation,” Hardy told Golfweek on Wednesday, ahead of his debut in the Players Championship. “I know that especially when I’m in a tournament atmosphere, that whenever I’m playing golf there is never a time where I forget what I shot.”
Westmoreland told Golfweek on Sunday that he didn’t see Johnson finish the hole because the group had been put on the clock.
“We were on the clock, so I walked off,” Westmoreland said after his third round on Saturday. “I assumed he made the one after he missed.”
Hardy echoed that sentiment.
“We were warned (for slow play) the day before and warned when we came off the tee box on nine (Friday). It was very fresh,” Hardy said. “When you get a warning, you get penalized as a member but there’s no penalty for non-members for pace of play. I have an issue when I get penalized for pace of play and I believe it isn’t me. I’ve been paired with non-members the last three weeks and I’ve gotten five or six warnings. When you get 25 warnings, you get fined $50,000. That’s a lot of money for anybody.”
In short, Hardy, who wasn’t keeping Johnson’s score, had a legitimate reason for walking ahead before Johnson finished in an effort to catch up.
“I’m going to get penalized even though I know I didn’t do anything wrong,” Hardy said. “If we hadn’t been warned, I wouldn’t have…
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