- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 30, 2010

THOUSAND OAKS, CALIF. (AP) - The Rules of Golf are under review, and Ian Poulter has a suggestion.

It involves a player who tries to replace his ball on the putting green, only for it to slip out of his hands just inches above the ground and land on his marker _ a lucky coin, in this case _ and move it ever so slightly.

There was no intent for the marker to move. There was no advantage to be gained.

But there was a one-stroke penalty.


“It puts the focus on another stupid rule,” Poulter said.

No doubt he could find a few other colleagues wanting to tweak the Rules of Golf, which will next be amended for 2012.

Brian Davis was docked two shots in a playoff at Hilton Head when his club ticked a loose reed in a waste area to the left of the 18th. Juli Inkster was penalized for swinging a club with a weight attached to stay loose during a delay. And who will ever forget Dustin Johnson not realizing he was in a bunker at the PGA Championship, going from a playoff to a tie for fifth after his two-shot penalty?

Poulter speaks from an experience he would just as soon forget.

He was on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff with Robert Karlsson at the Dubai World Championship, a great finish to the European Tour season, when they came to the par-5 18th green. Poulter went to replace his ball on a 40-foot birdie putt when it fell from his fingertips, hit the edge of the coin and made it flip over.

“It was literally like this,” Poulter said Tuesday, squatting and twirling a golf ball with his fingers before letting it fall to the ground.

First, some perspective.

Poulter knows he was unlikely to win the tournament, for while he had the long birdie putt, Karlsson had pitched to about 4 feet for birdie.

“That softens the blow a little bit,” Poulter said.

He will argue, however, that he at least had a chance until one slip of the hand, one flip of the coin. Did it cost him the tournament? Probably not, although it made for some sensational “what if?” stories.

The difference between winning and losing was $417,000. Throw in an extra $150,000 for the Race to Dubai bonus. And those ranking points could wind up costing Poulter even more money in incentives, the whole package perhaps worth close to $1 million depending on how he finishes the year at the Chevron World Challenge.

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