Golf: Clanger by Langer floors Faldo

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The Independent Online
NICK FALDO was sensationally disqualified from the world's richest golf tournament yesterday. The world No 1 and Open champion was pulled up after the third round of the Million Dollar Challenge in Sun City, South Africa. He had verified a card on which his playing partner, Bernhard Langer, had entered a wrong score for him.

And in a separate incident Nick Price of Zimbabwe was also disqualified, this time for submitting an unsigned card.

The problem with Faldo's card arose on the final hole, a par four. As his partner, Langer had the task of filling in Faldo's card, and wrongly wrote down a 4 when in fact Faldo had scored a 5. Faldo then verified it and handed it in without realising there was a mistake on it.

Faldo said he had no hard feelings towards Langer. 'I guess the heat of the day got to the top of my head,' he said. 'It was my mistake. It's the first time in my career that I've done it. It's not the right tournament to do it in either. I'm very disappointed, it's a bit of a shock. I ticked it. It was a real 100 per cent screw-up. It's a lot of bucks, but it serves me right.' Faldo had finished with a third-round 72 for an aggregate 213, six shots off the pace.

The German acknowledged the mistake. 'I'm sorry about it, but I didn't do it on purpose,' he said. 'It's terrible. Anyway, it's the responsibility of the player to verify his card. We all have to play by the rules.' Faldo was last disqualified from a tournament when he infringed rules in the 1984 European Open at Sunnngdale, England.

Buddy Young, the senior tournament director, said: 'Faldo accepted the decision straight away. He was the first to mention disqualification. I for one am pretty sick about it.'

Price's disqualification arose from an incident at the 11th hole when his caddie moved an advertising sign in contravention of local rules. 'The board was 40 metres in front of his lie,' said the tournament organiser Sam Feldman. 'He could have asked for relief.'

Feldman and Young said Price was unaware of the rule when his caddie moved the sign. They said he could have accepted a penalty stroke and would still be in the tournament if he had signed his card. Price finished on 68 for 207 which had put him level at front with his partner David Frost, who also carded a 68.

Frost said Price's caddie moved the sign back to its original position after an official at the 11th pointed out the rule that signs could not be shifted. Frost said he marked a bogey five for the 11th on Price's card but the official queried this, saying Price should have received a two- stroke penalty for moving the sign.

'So I changed it and made it a seven. He then erased his signature on the score card and said was not going to sign it,' said Frost. 'He wouldn't accept the penalty.' Frost said he was very upset by Price's disqualification. 'But there are rules we have to play by,' he said.

The double dismissal left only eight players chasing the richest prize in golf in Sunday's final round. Frost, with a round of 68 for a total of 207, held a four-shot lead.

(Photograph omitted)