Costly Ride

A shuttle ride may have cost a Korn Ferry Member his job
Ryan French
Ryan French
April 21, 2023

Wilson Furr, Alejandro Tosti, and Mason Andersen completed the 18th hole (their ninth) during the second round of the Korn Ferry event played at Lakewood National Golf Club in Florida. The 18th was entirely surrounded by grandstands, with a tunnel for the players to exit. When the three players exited the tunnel, a cart marked "shuttle" was waiting for them. A volunteer was driving it, and he asked the players if they would like a ride. The three players and their caddies climbed on and were driven to the next tee. That decision cost all three a two-stroke penalty and may have cost Wilson Furr his job. 

The players didn't think anything of the shuttle ride, but a Korn Ferry Tour rules official approached them after the three played their tee shots on the fourth hole. He informed the trio they would be assessed a two-stroke penalty as the shuttle ride wasn't stated on the rules sheet. All three players argued their case from the tee to their ball to no avail. 

In Korn Ferry events, as in most other pro events, transportation is prohibited except if stated in the player's packet. The player packet is posted in player dining, in the locker room, and available online on the player portal. This week there isn't a locker room available, so it is only posted in player dining. This week, the only on-course shuttle allowed was between seven green and eight tee. (There were also shuttles from the range to both starting tees.)

After the round, the players again approached the Korn Ferry rules official in player scoring and pleaded their case. Ultimately the Korn Ferry rules committee confirmed the penalties, and two strokes were added to each player's score on the hole. 

The two-shot penalty gave Andersen a 77, though he would have missed the cut regardless of the penalty. It moved Tosti from -10 to -8 and outside the top-25. But Furr was most affected. 

Wilson Furr has made three of seven cuts coming into this week with a best finish of T54. He is currently 148th in points. He was guaranteed starts in the first eight Korn Ferry events based on his finish at the final stage of Q-school. After the eighth event in the season, a reshuffle happens, and the players are re-ranked. Because of his points position, Furr will likely not get any more starts this season unless he Monday qualifies or gets a sponsor’s exemption. 

When I talked with Furr after the round, he was upset and said, "This decision cost me my job." "If this was a member cart, I deserve the penalty, but this was a cart parked right outside the tunnel, marked shuttle, with a volunteer driving." 

According to Tosti, he asked the driver if he was an official shuttle, and the driver stated he was. "It was the same shuttle we took to the tee, and he said he was an official shuttle." Tosti, like Furr, was upset.

When reached for comment, the Korn Ferry Tour referred to the rules sheet posted in player dining stating on which hole players were allowed on a shuttle. The Tour said the cart was positioned there because it had stopped while the players putted, as the carts were gas-powered and noisy. The Tour didn't state who reported the infraction, though it was likely either a player or a caddie. 

I don't know how, but the Rules of Golf need to determine how to measure intent. By everyone's account, there was no consideration of intent in this case. None of the players gained an advantage outside of walking 300 fewer steps. It was a simple mistake by the volunteer to offer them a ride and a mistake by the players for not double-checking it was OK. And it probably cost a player his job. 

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