Australian golf official Russell Swanson has been criticised for not stepping in after Keegan Bradley and Miguel Angel Jimenez almost came to blows during their match at the WGC Match Play Championships.
Playing the 18th hole of their dead rubber match, Spain’s Jimenez came to query a drop Swanson was overseeing for American Bradley, before things became heated.
Bradley’s caddie, Steve Hale, got involved and Jimenez told him to shut up, sparking outrage.
“You don’t tell me to shut up,” Hale said.
And Bradley, the 2011 PGA Championship winner, took exception and moved right up into Jimenez’s face.
Television commentators said Swanson should have gotten involved at that stage, but he held back.
The vice-president of rules and competition, Mark Russell, stood up for Swanson’s role in the spat, claiming the Australian was right not to intervene.
“Russell Swanson did a great job out there and Russell Swanson isn’t going to step in the middle of these players, that’s between them,” Russell said.
“And I don’t think he should have done anything in that situation, that’s between those players.”
Bradley was still upset about Jimenez’s behaviour when asked about it later.
“I felt like he was being very disrespectful to me – not only me, but my caddie,” Bradley said.
“I felt like I had to stand up for my boy here. Me and Pepsi (Hale) have been through a lot.”
But Jimenez was prepared to leave the matter on the course.
“Whatever he say, now is finished,” Jimenez said.
“The round is finished and everything is done. We had a little discussion, but it is done.”
Jimenez won the match 2-up.