Teen Golfer Booted from US Open Sectional After Bathroom Trip

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A quick trip to the bathroom has apparently cost a teenage golf sensation his chance of qualifying at a U.S. Open sectional.

Skyler Fox, 16, was experiencing a severe headache during the first round of his first ever U.S. Open sectional. After shooting even par on the back nine, he ran to his car to get medicine and then used the bathroom. Sounds innocent enough right?

Wrong.

As Golfweek reports:

By the time Fox — a junior who has won three Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League championships at Riverside High School — made his way to the scoreboard area to see where he stacked up, he saw an ‘NC’ next to his name, meaning he hadn’t delivered his scorecard. At the scorer’s table, he saw his swing coach, Sean Swidzinski, and father, Joe, arguing with a tournament official.

Fox was disqualified for breaching Rule 3.3b(2), according to a USGA spokesperson, which states a player must ‘promptly return’ a scorecard to the scorer’s table upon the completion of a round. But the wording of the rule prompted questions from Fox and his dad over the decision to end the teen’s day prematurely over a delay they say stemmed from a headache and a bathroom break following his round.

Needless to say, Fox’s father was not pleased.

“The kid had to go to the bathroom,” said Joe Fox, Skyler’s father. “He said he couldn’t wait. What do you do? You gotta go, you gotta go, unfortunately. … It wasn’t like he was winning the thing. So, would it have really killed you to let him finish?”

For their part, the USGA maintains that they have discretion over what a prompt return is, and they can discipline players under that rule as they see fit.

“Brian DePasquale, manager of championship communications for the USGA, confirmed Skyler Fox’s disqualification, writing in an email to Golfweek that Fox ‘went to lunch and did not enter the scoring area until the following group had returned their cards.’

“DePasquale said Fox didn’t enter the scoring areas until approximately 15 minutes after his round ended. The committee has discretion over what ‘promptly’ means,” Golfweek reports.

Fox has won three high school golf championships in Western Pennsylvania. As for the teenager’s father, he wonders what might have been if his son had been allowed to continue competing in the sectional.

“He probably would’ve been mid-pack, and for a 16-year-old, that’s a lot to be said,” Joe Fox explained. “So, it was interesting. But you’ve got to take life’s bumps as they come, I guess.”

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn

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