The caddie for 10th-ranked Kim Sei-Young of South Korea was kicked out of the US Women’s Open on Tuesday after being discovered taking cell-phone photographs of course set-up documents.
US Golf Association (USGA) officials said Paul Fusco had photos of internal notes on the course set-up. Details of pin placements and other details about specific course layouts are not available to players until the day of a round.
Fusco was banished from Lancaster Country Club and will not be allowed to caddie for Kim when she tries to capture her first major title starting Thursday at the par-72 Pennsylvania course.
“I was surprised to hear about it,” Kim told the Golf Channel. “It’s upsetting.”
Kim will not be penalised for Fusco’s actions. She plans to have her bags carried by Steve Shellard, according to the Golf Channel. Shellard is the regular caddie for South Korean star Pak Se-ri, who withdrew last week from the Open.
Multiple reports said Fusco was in an unauthorised USGA rules area without permission and taking pictures of hole locations and set-up plans for all four rounds when a USGA official discovered him.
Golf Channel said he uncovered information about yardages, alternate tee plans and even expected wind directions for each round.
“It’s like seeing a test before you take it,” US Women’s Open championship director Ben Kimball told the Golf Channel.
There was no word from officials if they planned changes because the information had been discovered by Fusco.
Kim, 22, is the top newcomer on the LPGA Tour this season with two triumphs and two top-five major showings, including a runner-up effort last month at the Women’s PGA Championship and a share of fourth at the ANA Inspiration in April.
Kim, who ranks second on the LPGA money list with $US1.1 million ($A1.48 million), won the Bahamas LPGA Classic in February and the LPGA Lotte Championship in April, capturing each of the first playoff hole, making a birdie to win in the Bahamas and an eagle to win in Hawaii.
Fusco has caddied for Kim since last December at the LPGA qualifying tournament. He could face discipline from the LPGA should he try to return to Kim’s bag in tour events.
Fusco has also caddied for Fiji’s Vijay Singh on the PGA Tour and South Korean Choi Na-Yeon in the LPGA.