In light of the most recent controversial sponsor’s invite in golf going to the one and only Tony Romo, this week’s Web.com Tour event, the Club Colombia Championship, made the spotlight for the exact same reason. A 52 year-old amateur, Julio “The Machine” Bell turned a first-round of 93 at the Country Club of Bogota, making just one par for the afternoon after receiving a sponsor’s invite. Bell, a former boxer, took up the game only five years ago but was able to secure a spot in the field using his Colombian business and investments shared with his wife, according to Golf Digest. I guess you would attempt the same given the opportunity!
But many professional golfer’s aren’t happy about it, seeing the position as a lost spot for a Tour Pro trying to make a living. Some caddies even referred to the incident as nonsense, stating that: “someone is sitting out because someone paid money to play.”
Bell managed to shoot 105 in his second round but was reportedly disqualified after refusing to hand in his card. Missing the cut by 56 strokes, Bell managed only 4 pars for the week which included 12 double bogeys and 3 triple bogeys.
Word from my friends in the scoring trailer is that Julio “The Machine” Bell wouldn’t turn in a card after that 105 and got DQ’d. If you’re gonna shoot it, own it.
— Edward Loar Tracker-When Birdies & BBQ Collide👊🏼 (@EdLoarTracker) February 9, 2018
But seriously, any amateur out there who is competing out of sheer passion and love for the game can’t be expected to make cuts and compete with the best in the world. Bell used the resources he could and teed it up in a great event, many of us wouldn’t think twice about it if we could, regardless of what we shot.
What are your thoughts? Good on him for giving it a go? Unfair for Tour Players? Or is it simply the nature of Sponsor Invites?