CARLSBAD, Calif. (Ticker) -- Retief Goosen broke his silence over last week's controversial disqualification at the Nissan Open.
Goosen, the world's fourth-ranked player, was barred from the tournament after being late for his 6:40 a.m. tee time for Wednesday's pro-am at Riviera.
The disqualification was automatic, a PGA Tour rule that was passed in an attempt to stop pros from deliberately missing pro-ams, which are unpopular with many players.
Goosen's late arrival came roughly 12 hours after he attended a sponsor's party to promote his new contract with a vodka company. He denies any suggestion he overindulged.
He actually requested an early tee time because he was jetlagged, having just arrived from England, and figured he would be awake early, given the eight-hour time difference.
"I woke at 4 a.m. and went back to sleep until 5, when my alarm went off," Goosen said Thursday after winning his first-round showdown at the Accenture Match Play Championship.
"Unfortunately, I went straight back to sleep again, and when I woke up it was nearly my tee time, so I got dressed and got to the course 20 minutes late. It was the first time I'd ever missed a tee time, and I've never missed a pro-am before, so it was a bit of a harsh penalty."
Goosen believes the rule regarding pro-ams is too strict.
"There have been a few players who've abused pro-ams, and that's why they brought this rule in, but I think they should have at least one release," he said.
Sources said the incident is likely to prompt a policy change. After all, a tournament doesn't want to lose one of its top-ranked players. Imagine the outcry if it happened to Tiger Woods.
"The question you should ask if you're making any rule for the tour is, 'What if it happened to Tiger Woods?'" Stuart Appleby said. "Retief was the (second ranked) player there last week, and he walks out of the tournament. His intentions were to play the pro-am. He's got a perfect record.
"You can't just have a blanket rule over something like that. If it happened to Tiger, there's 20 or 30 percent of the ratings gone."
Goosen wasn't the first player to suffer an overly harsh penalty for a minor infraction. Appleby hopes he will be the last.
"It's a silly rule and I think it will be changed," he said. "You've got to look at each individual situation, and maybe a fine would do."