Nick Hardy says that Kamaiu Johnson’s disqualification from the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week “may have been a cheating situation” after officials gave him multiple chances to say he scored a seven instead of his claimed six.
Johnson four-putted from the fringe on the ninth hole at Bay Hill, but with playing partners Hardy and Kyle Westmoreland already on the next tee, due to the group being put on the clock, neither man actually saw how many putts were taken.
The official scorer had it down as a seven, ShotLink had it down as a seven, but Johnson insisted he took six, and was then disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard.
Johnson issued an apology on Twitter on Saturday saying: “I take the integrity of the game very seriously and I’m sorry this happened. I got a little overwhelmed in the moment with the group on the clock and lost count of my missed putts from 3 feet. I’ll do better.”
I take the integrity of the game very seriously and I’m sorry this happened. I got a little overwhelmed in the moment with the group on the clock and lost count of my missed putts from from 3 feet. I’ll do better.March 4, 2023
Hardy, though, says he’s never forgotten what he’s shot on a hole in tournament play, and feels the matter is concerning given that officials tried to talk Johnson out of claiming the six.
“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 (opens in new tab). “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.
“I’ll say this, they gave him many opportunities after the round, even after he signed his card, a couple more opportunities to maybe say he made a 7. I think they knew they had video evidence from the running camera on 9. ShotLink said he had a 7, the walking scorer said he had a 7 and he insisted he had a 6.
“They hinted to him that, hey, we just want to make sure you’ve got this right, and he still said he made a 6. That was the troubling issue I had.
“The Tour gave him multiple chances to come to grips with it. I know this for a fact because I was getting calls from the scoring officials for the next hour after we signed the card inside. I saw Montana [Thompson] and Casey Jones outside the locker room when they were talking to Kamaiu. It’s definitely concerning.”
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