Dishonest Caddie Causes Player's DQ on Euro Tour

The caddie of Jose Manuel Lara performed what might be called a bush-league maneuver during the first round of the European Tour's BMW International Open, and it got his player disqualified.

The caddie, Mathias Vinson, realized on the second hole that there were 15 clubs in Lara's golf bag. Whoops, that's one too many. Rule 4-4 in the Rules of Golf limits golfers to carrying 14 clubs. What Vinson should have done was notify Lara of the mistake. Lara would have notified rules officials, and the proper penalties — two strokes per hole — would have been applied. A terrible way to start a tournament, to be sure, but at least Lara would still be playing a minimum of two rounds, and he'd still have a chance to recover.

But that's not what caddie Vinson did. Instead, he tried to hide the extra club in the bushes. Seriously.

Lara didn't pay any attention when his caddie disappeared into thick bushes on the second hole; he assumed the caddie simply couldn't wait to reach an on-course toilet. But something about the caddie's actions roused suspicion among Lara's playing partners, Damien McGrane and Peter Hedblom, who confronted Vinson about it. Maybe it was the fact that Vinson carried Lara's golf bag into the bushes with him. Vinson immediately 'fessed up.

There is no suspicion by anyone — his playing partners or tour officials — that Lara had any knowledge of the extra club or what his caddie was trying to do. Lara is completely innocent in this. Except that he should have counted the clubs in his bag himself before teeing off. Yes, that's a lesson for all golfers: Before teeing off in any tournament, count your clubs — don't rely solely on a caddie to get it right.

Because players are responsible for the actions of their caddies, and that's why Lara was disqualified by European Tour officials. The European Tour also released a statement on Friday stating that Vinson was banned "indefinitely" from caddying on the Euro Tour. They should go ahead and make that a permanent ban.

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