The following is a statement from The European Tour’s Chief Referee, John Paramor, regarding the disqualification of Peter Whiteford from the Avantha Masters:
On the 18th fairway during the third round while playing his approach shot, Peter Whiteford felt that his ball may have moved and for confirmation asked his caddy, a fellow competitor and a TV cameraman, who said they didn’t think it had, and so he continued on to finish the hole and sign his scorecard for 72.
Overnight several viewers contacted the European Tour website saying that Peter Whiteford’s ball had in fact moved on the 18th hole. This was reviewed by the Rules Committee who were able to determine that the ball had in fact moved. Peter Whiteford should have incurred a penalty of one stroke and replaced the ball. As he did not do so, he was disqualified for signing for a score lower than taken for failing to include the penalty he had incurred.
The Rules Committee considered the decision 33-7/4.5 which allows a committee in certain circumstances to modify the disqualification penalty and apply the appropriate penalty stroke(s) if the player could not have reasonably known he had incurred a penalty. If Peter Whiteford had contacted a member of the Rules Team before signing his scorecard, the footage would have been reviewed at the time and he would have averted the disqualification penalty.