How one shuttle ride might’ve cost one Korn Ferry Tour player his job
A shuttle ride may have cost one Korn Ferry Tour player his job.
Wilson Furr missed the cut Friday at the Korn Ferry Tour’s Lecom Suncoast Classic – and will now likely be reshuffled out of most upcoming events – after the 24-year-old Jackson, Mississippi, native was among three players penalized for taking an unauthorized shuttle ride from a tournament volunteer midway through their second rounds.
“This sucks,” Furr told GolfChannel.com via phone on Friday night after his flight home landed in Birmingham, Alabama. “There’s no way around it. It just sucks. To start the day, probably one of the bigger rounds I’ve played in my career, and I knew it, and for this to happen then, just ugh.”
The news was first reported by Monday Q Info’s Ryan French.
Furr and his playing competitors, Alejandro Tosti and Mason Andersen, were each assessed two-stroke penalties for violating Model Local Rule G-6, which states, “A player or caddie must not ride on any transportation. A player operating under a stroke and distance penalty is always authorized.”
The supplemental rules sheet for this week’s event, however, did specify that “automotive transportation is permitted during play from No. 7 green to No. 8 tee only.” The shuttles were also transporting players from the driving range to Nos. 1 and 10 tees prior to their rounds.
“But the places we took the shuttle to and from, that was not authorized,” Tosti said.
Tosti said he was the first of the three players to walk off the 18th green at Lakewood National Golf Club in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, and through a tunnel under a grandstand when he noticed a volunteer sitting in an empty three-rowed golf cart, the same type that had shuttled them to the 10th tee earlier in the day. Furr added that the shuttle was designated as such via signage.
“I asked the guy, ‘Are you giving rides to the first tee?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, jump in,’” Tosti recalled. “I know that I cannot jump in a cart that is not official, but this was almost like organized. It almost seemed like someone sent this guy to give us a ride. It was ready, waiting for us to walk off the green and give us a ride to the first tee, and that guy apparently was not supposed to be there.”
The volunteer, tasked with taking players between the range and their starting tees, had apparently stopped along his route – and then, clearly not knowing the specific rule either, gone rogue. The afternoon wave had yet to begin, and there were five groups behind Tosti, Furr and Andersen still needing to turn.
Furr guessed that the shuttle driver had stopped to watch the group hit their putts through the tunnel opening.
I mean, we literally would’ve run into his cart if we kept walking,” Furr said. “… Just a classic case of bad place, bad time.”
A few holes later, while Furr, Tosti and Andersen were walking off the fourth tee box, a rules official approached them and asked them how they got to the first tee after making the turn. All three players admitted to taking the shuttle, but none of them knew it was a penalty.
The rules sheets, including the official notice to players, that contained the MLR and supplemental verbiage, according to a KFT official, were made available to players via several avenues, including being posted on the player info board in player dining, the caddie info board next to the range and both starter’s boxes.
Tosti and Furr both said they didn’t read the specific rule (Andersen respectfully declined to comment on the situation), but considering the walk from No. 18 to No. 1 is longer than both the approved shuttle routes, Furr argued, “It wasn’t crazy for me to think there was supposed to be a shuttle there.”
“At the end of the day, we are responsible,” Tosti added. “But this was very, very strange. We were pretty much set up to get a ride from hole 18 to the first tee. Everything was very unusual. I tried to make sure that that ride was official … and the guy sounded so sure, he’s waiting for us, and it kind of makes sense that he’s giving rides to the first tee because you have to go all around the clubhouse and it’s a long walk.”
The three players pleaded as much to officials while walking down the fourth fairway and again in scoring after their rounds.
“We let them hear it,” Furr said. “But after hearing the exact same response seven different ways, I just left. We weren’t getting anywhere. The guy’s word was final.
“I just wonder, is there no discretion?”
Andersen’s two penalty shots meant little – he shot 77 and missed the cut by 13 shots. Tosti’s were more costly, as it knocked him from 10 under to 8 under, now eight shots off the lead.
But neither were devastated quite like Furr, who played Nos. 4-9, after being notified of the infraction, in 2 under, yet his second straight 2-under 69 left him two shots below the cut line.
The former All-American who led Alabama to a national runner-up finish to a juggernaut Oklahoma State squad in 2018, Furr turned pro in 2021 but didn’t earn his first KFT card until Q-School last November. He had made three of his first seven cuts as a rookie this season, not finishing better than T-54, and he entered this week’s event – his eighth and final guaranteed start before the first reshuffle – No. 148 in points.
“And it’s not getting any better,” Furr said.
Furr said he was so mad after Friday’s round that he locked himself out of his tour account by typing in the wrong password five times. He is doubtful, however, that he’s done enough to get into the next four events – there is a reshuffled after those as well – on his number.
“It looks like it will be close,” Furr said. “But I don’t think it would be close if I made the cut, which I did. I don’t know, it’s just a tough pill to swallow.”
Even if he’s not exempt for upcoming events, Furr still has pathways into fields via the alternate list, Monday qualifiers and sponsor exemptions.
“I guess I don’t have any other option at this point,” Furr said, “but I’m going to fight.”
Update: Three players from a second grouping have been issued two-shot penalties for taking an unauthorized shuttle ride, GolfChannel.com has learned. The penalties were confirmed by a Korn Ferry Tour official.
Jared Wolfe, who was in the second group off No. 1 tee on Friday along with Ashton Van Horne and Boo Weekley, came forth after hearing about the penalties to Furr, Tosti and Andersen. Wolfe and Van Horne had accepted shuttle rides from No. 9 green to No. 10 tee during their rounds. Weekley didn’t take the ride himself, but his caddie did, which is still a violation.
The players were docked two shots on their 10th holes.
Rule 3.3b(3), which covers the failure to include an unknown penalty, saved Wolfe, Van Horne and Weekley from disqualification.
Van Horne had already missed the cut at 5 under, but Wolfe dropped from 9 under to 7 under, and Weekley went from inside the cut line at 6 under to missing the weekend at 4 under. Weekley was No. 165 in points to start the week.