US Open: Landon Michelson disqualified after admitting scoring error
Honesty is always the best policy, although right now it probably doesn’t much feel like it for Landon Michelson, whose dream of playing in the US Open were ended when he was forced to disqualify himself for signing an incorrect scorecard.
The devastated 22-year-old carded a pair of one-under par 71s in a sectional qualifier at Quail Valley on Monday and looked to be on track to at least secure a place in a play-off for one of four available spots up for grabs.
However, in one sickening twist of fate, the feel-good story which was brewing away nicely, suddenly topped over and smashed as realisation settled that he had signed for a 70 in his second round instead of 71, leaving him with an ethical dilemma to either own up or try and keep the mistake hidden and live with the knowledge he had cheated.
Michelson cast his mind back to a project he completed at Rice University – where he is a graduate – regarding Blayne Barber’s decision to disqualify himself from the PGA Tour Q-School back in 2012 when he was unsure if he had brushed a leaf in a bunker during his second round.
And, like Barber, Michelson held his hands up and admitted his error – a respectable and honest action which still saw him disqualified – missing out on a dream trip to Pinehurst later this month.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Michelson said: "I told myself I didn't know what I would do in that situation. But I decided to just go for it. I was just hoping there was something the rules official could do.”
"You can say it was the only thing to do, but I could have easily have said nothing and I'd be playing in the US Open at Pinehurst.
"I am like the 1,000th-ranked amateur in the world. The clothing sponsors, the club sponsors (for playing at the US Open) ... it would have been so much easier.
"That's just golf."
Perhaps one player who will be glad for the honesty shown by Michelson would be Australian Aron Price, who slips into the US Open without the need for a play-off.