It may be the 21st century, but this archaic golf tournament rule said that Emily Nash could not be given a trophy or award for her score – even though she played better than all the boys.
The 16-year-old was allowed to compete on the Lunenburg High School boy’s team in the Central Mass Division 3 Boys’ Golf Tournament in Lunenburg, Massachusetts earlier this week. But in spite of being able to contribute to the team’s score, she could not be recognized as an individual player.
Emily only realized this after she achieved the best score – 3-over-par – but was denied the title. The trophy was instead awarded to Nico Ciolino of AMSA Charter School, who finished four strokes behind Emily.
Ciolino, however, didn’t want the trophy – instead, he offered it to Emily.
“He came over and said he didn’t win the tournament, that I did,” she told WPBF. “It was really nice of him and respectful.”
“He felt so bad about it that he actually tried to give the trophy to Nash,” Pro Shop Manager Dave Kocur told PGA.com. “That showed a lot of class.”
While Emily was touched by the gesture, she politely declined.
Since news of Emily’s score has been publicized, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association has received backlash for their enforcement of the dated rule. The code has been called especially “unfair” due to how Lunenburg High School does not have a girl’s team for Emily to play on. Additionally, Emily played on all the same tees as the boys.
Golf tournament director Kevin Riordan, who was also taken aback by the controversial event, said that he doesn’t make the rules – he only has to enforce them. But that reportedly won’t stop him from using his own money to buy Emily a first place trophy of her own to keep until the rules are changed.
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Reprint (Photo by Massachusetts Golf Association)