ORLANDO – The record will show that Kamaiu Johnson was disqualified from the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It will be a small footnote when the history of this week’s annual PGA Tour stop at Arnie’s Place is recalled, but what it will mean for Johnson’s reputation and how long it will linger with him is another story entirely.
Johnson, 29, was deemed to have been in violation of Rule 3.3b, which means he signed an incorrect scorecard.
In Johnson’s accounting of things, he made a double-bogey six at the par-4 ninth hole, not a seven, on Friday en route to shooting 5-over 77 at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge and missing the cut by six strokes.
As first reported by Ryan French, AKA Monday Q Info on Twitter, Johnson told Kyle Westmoreland, who was keeping his card, on the 10th tee that he had made a six, but that score was questioned later in the scoring tent.
Westmoreland told Golfweek he didn’t see Johnson, who plays primarily on the APGA Tour and was competing this week on a sponsor exemption, finish the hole because the group had been put on the clock. Nick Hardy, the third player in the grouping, also reportedly had started to head to the 10th tee and didn’t see Johnson clean up after missing a 22-foot par putt from the fringe.
“We were on the clock, so I walked off,” Westmoreland said after his third round on Saturday. “I assumed he made the one after he missed.”
ShotLink data shows Johnson missed the par putt from 22½ feet, and followed by missing putts of three and four feet for bogey and double bogey before tapping in a 20-inch putt for his 7.
After the round, Tour rules official Orlando Pope was called in to handle the disputed score. The discrepancy was resolved by the group’s walking scorer, who confirmed that Johnson made a triple-bogey 7 as well as by a ShotLink official, who used video from cameras around the green that showed visual proof of the three putts. Johnson would have missed the cut by six strokes, and has yet to make the cut in five career starts on the PGA Tour.
“It happens, I guess,” Westmoreland said. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. He missed the cut. It doesn’t look great, I guess, for some people, but I don’t have much to comment on. It was a non-factor. I think the Tour handled it well.”
On Saturday, Johnson took to social media to issue an apology, tweeting that he had lost count of his score in the moment: “I take the integrity of the game very seriously and I’m sorry this happened. I got a little overwhelmed in the moment with the group on the clock and lost count of my missed putts from 3 feet. I’ll do better.”
I take the integrity of the game very seriously and I’m sorry this happened. I got a little overwhelmed in the moment with the group on the clock and lost count of my missed putts from from 3 feet. I’ll do better.
— Kamaiu “My My” Johnson (@KamaiuJohnson) March 4, 2023