Roe calls for change to 'blatantly unfair' rules on disqualification

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The Independent Online

Mark Roe has called on golf's governing bodies to change the "blatantly unfair" rules which saw him robbed of the chance of Open glory.

Roe was joint fourth at Royal St George's after a brilliant third-round 67 on Saturday, but he was disqualified, along with playing partner Jesper Parne-vik, after the pair accidentally signed each other's cards.

The Sheffield-based player admitted news of his penalty left him "dumbfounded and absolutely shell-shocked" and called for rule changes, claiming a "clerical error" should not have denied him the chance to compete in yesterday's final round.

Roe said: "I must admit I didn't get a lot of sleep last night to be honest. I got a bottle of champagne and drank myself to sleep.

"I feel numb this morning. It could have been one of the great days of my life and I've lost that opportunity.

"I went through the events in my mind when I was driving home and the only thing I remember was checking my total four times and then handing it to the gentleman.

"I remember him saying clearly 'congratulations Mr Roe, great score'. I do remember very clearly, 'nice score, two signatures, well played'.

"I think maybe it's time for a change of certain rules. There are rules that rightly penalise and rules that we all know are just blatantly unfair.

"I don't feel I made a mistake yesterday - it was a clerical error, it was nothing to do with the game of golf, it was a piece of paper. My score was 67.

"I was dumbfounded and absolutely shellshocked when I was called back in. I thought maybe I'd made a mistake on Jesper's card. I can't tell you the shock."

But Roe refused to blame the officials who accepted his card, even though he would have had the opportunity to correct the error had the problem been spotted in time. "I can't apportion blame in all honesty to the people in the hut," he said.

"I'm over-diligent with my scorecard. Jesper and I stayed in there 10, 12, 15 minutes, then obviously I'm called to TV and do interviews.

"I wouldn't have stayed in any longer because in my own mind my scorecard was 100 per cent correct.

"I can't explain that contrast in emotions. When I came off the last green I blew three kisses to my wife Julia and the girls, I felt fantastic, probably the greatest feeling I've ever had. The contrast from being so high and then walking into the hut, looking down and seeing my score on Jesper's card - it didn't feel real."

Officials have the power to overturn such a penalty in extreme circumstances, but Roe did not ask for leniency. He said: "I felt responsible for my scorecard... I accept the blame.

"I would have liked the opportunity to have tested myself in the greatest arena."