Interesting story out of Worcester today, where Auburn High golfer Matt Carville was disqualified from yesterday's Central Mass Division 2 golf championship at Grafton's Highfields Country Club for wearing an iPod during the final two holes. Carville's six-over 78 gave Auburn a final score of 321, edging Groton-Dunstable by three strokes; that would have been good enough to give the Rockets the CMass title and a state tournament berth. But because his score was tossed, the Rockets left Grafton with neither.
Carville's action was found in violation of the MIAA's "Coaches and Players Responsibilities" made available by tournament director Ron Spakauskas before play starts. Electronic devices are not permitted on the course. But as my old boss Dave Nordman of the Telegram & Gazette points out, Carville would have been OK under USGA rules:
The “Coaches and Players Responsibilities” include an entry that reads: “No electronic devices (including cell phones) (are) allowed on course (penalty disqualification).”
However, United States Golf Association Rule 14-3 allows golfers to wear such devices:
“The Rules of Golf do not prohibit a player from using headphones, provided they do not communicate information on the conditions (such as weather) which are relevant to his play or otherwise assist the player in his play. … Additionally, the Rules of Golf do not prohibit a player from using earplugs, provided it does not assist the player in his play.”
So to clarify: Yes, Carville did break an MIAA rule. No, he did not break a USGA rule.
Sounds like the ruling is a straightforward interpretation of the MIAA's guidelines, but as one T&G commenter pointed out, how would this apply to a kid with, say, a medical device?
"I would think the player or the coach would have to approach the tournament director and make them aware of that fact," MIAA spokesman Paul Wetzel said. "It's kind of unlikely in a high school kid, but obviously anything's possible. Certainly if a coach thinks one of their players has some condition that would make them exempt to the rule, they'd just ask for it."