Kristin Tattar and the Selective Application of the Rules


UPDATE: Since this article was published more information has come to light. Kristin Tattar’s daughter was not with her for the first three rounds and this is why nothing was said sooner. While that does change part of the article the overall point remains the same.

If more information becomes available further changes will be made at the top of this article. 

For more information on Elain King’s response please click here

Easter Sunday was a rollercoaster round for Kristin Tattar in more than one way. To start the final round Paige Pierce and Kristin Tattar were tied at eight under par. At one point during that round, she found herself with a two-stroke advantage over Paige Pierce only for the round to end with Paige Pierce beating Kristin Tattar by two strokes. In the middle of Kristin Tattar focusing on her game and what she needed to do to, Tattar had to find someone to watch her daughter. Kristin Tattar did not mention her daughter’s name in the Instagram post and out of respect I will not name her in this article.

During the short break between tour series stops Kristin Tattar was able to head back home and see her family. She spent quality time with everyone including her daughter. She was able to bring her daughter with on the trip back for the Champions Cup, Jonesboro, and Dynamic Discs Open. For three and a half rounds she was able to watch her mom play professional disc golf at the historic WR Jackson course.

In her Instagram post Tattar said, “It turned out in the middle of the final round that she could not walk with me and had to go into the crowd … otherwise I might be disqualified. I was so confused and my heart was racing at that moment….” It turns out, mid round, Kristin Tattar had to find someone in the crowd to watch her daughter while competing in a major. “Thankfully, Paige’s caddie was very kind and helpful and had a friend in the crowd who was able to watch over my daughter for the rest of the round,” Tattar posted on Instagram.

Since the original post she added,

*Due to some hateful comments towards @pdga I turned off the comment section. When writing this post I had no intention to be blaming anyone about what happened. If you are looking for someone to blame, it should be me - I'm a professional player and should know all the rules and follow them. Unfortunately I learned this the hard way. I want to note that none of the players on the card or the PDGA officials called me a violation or were in any way rude with me or my daughter. This issue was pointed out by a 3rd person.*

Image from Kristin Tattar's Instagram @kristin.tattar

There are a few things I want to go over regarding this situation and the selective application of the rules during Pro Tour events. First, there is a new rule, 3.05.B that says,

A caddie is a person who carries a player's equipment or provides other assistance during the round. Players may designate one caddie at a time during their round. A caddie must be at least 13 years of age and must comply with the same Official Rules of Disc Golf and Competition Manual their player must follow, including the dress code, although a caddie need not be a PDGA member nor Certified Official.

By the letter of the law, Kristin Tattar’s daughter is not allowed to follow her around during the round because she isn’t old enough. When signing up for these tournaments you implicitly state that you understand and will follow the rules to the best of your ability. Tattar admitted, “…that I’m responsible for this situation. It was just a sad one. I think any parent would understand how difficult it was. But now I know better and will avoid this happening again.”

You’ve seen me both in my videos and in articles on Joe’s Disc Golf railing for rules enforcement. I even wrote an article ‘Do the PDGA Rules Even Matter?’ . That article was spurred on by a comment I made on reddit answering a question about an illegal disc. In this case Tattar should have known that she could not have her daughter with her because of her age. Ignorance is not an excuse. As a parent I can understand why she brought her daughter to the event. Her daughter was able to witness firsthand the best women in the world compete at a Major event. This is something that can inspire a child to reach for the star whether in disc golf or any aspect of her life. It shows what you can achieve with hard work and dedication.

Fortunately, the TD Robert Leonard and PDGA staff were able to work out a solution in a short amount of time. They were able to get Tattar’s daughter a “QUIET” sign which allowed her to remain at the front of the gallery about 30 feet back from the players. Leonard said that he never considered disqualifying Tattar from the event; he’s the only person who can disqualify a player.

What started this whole ordeal? Was it one of the players on her card? Or was it one of the tournament officials following the lead card in the final round? No, it was the Vice President of the PDGA Board of Directors and Disc Golf Network color commentator Elaine King. She said that Tattar’s daughter needed to be in the gallery and supervised by another adult. I don’t understand why this was a problem in the final round but not the three previous rounds.

Moving into my second point, if Elaine King was watching why didn’t she call someone to enforce the dress code on Chris Dickerson’s wife? She is part of the media and at Champions Cup I don’t know if she was credentialed as a media person or Chis Dickerson’s caddy. If she was a caddy, she was in violation of the dress code 3.04.D.2, “… Tank tops are not allowed for any competitor….” Yes, she was not a competitor but 3.05.B, “A caddy…  must comply with the same Official Rules of Disc Golf and Competition Manual their player must follow, including the dress code…” and as per 3.05.C, “Players choosing to use a caddie will be solely responsible for their caddie’s conduct from the two-minute signal until the player’s scorecard is submitted. Any penalties for misconduct by a caddie (as defined in this section and in 3.03) will be applied to both player and caddie.” Do I think Chris Dickerson needed to have a warning or any sort of consequence in this situation? Absolutely not. I just want to point out the selective application of the rules and the double standard in play. Now if his wife was credentialed as media, the rule is a little muddled. If media is considered part of the staff, then she would not be allowed to wear the tank top. Again, I think this is ridiculous but it just goes to further prove the point.

Looking further in to the rules we can see that the dress code 3.04.D.1 states, “All players in PDGA-sanctioned competition and tournament staff are expected to dress appropriately and to maintain a clean and well-groomed appearance at all event sites and associated functions.” Does that mean that James Conrad, Nikko Locastro, Chris Clemons, and Zac Melton (just to name a few) need to get a hair or in some cases a beard trim? Where I went to high school you couldn’t have facial hair and your hair couldn’t cover your ears or touch your collar. Is that a ridiculous standard for the tour? Yes, but again it shows how vague the rules are. In the same rule, 3.04.D.3, states that you can wear a Dry Fit or similar shirt but not a cotton shirt. Its hard to tell on coverage but Calvin Heimburg is wearing a T-shirt and I’m wondering why it wasn’t questioned what material it was made of? Again, I don’t care about the material but playing in a cotton shirt sounds terribly uncomfortable.

Does that mean if Philo, or any other MPO or FPO color commentator, makes a comment on how long Nikko Locastro or Gannon Buhr is taking to putt someone will go over and warn them? I know there are more disc golfers than Locastro and Buhr who are slow, these are just the most prominent because they’ve been on coverage doing this. Why was rule 3.05.B enforced on Tattar and her daughter and rule 802.03.A, Excessive Time, not enforced on any player taking longer than the 30 seconds allotted?

If we want disc golf to continue to grow and be accepted as a ‘real sport’ we need to fix these issues now. I understand that it is awkward having to call someone on your own card for a violation. Especially at the touring level where many of these players not only see each other week in and week out but often times share an Airbnb. A solution to this growing problem is marshals on the course. If a card is playing slow the marshal can come up to them, let them know they need to pick up the pace, or they will stroke the card. You can stroke the one player for taking more than 30 seconds and the rest of the card for not enforcing the rules. This also makes it easier for someone on the card to say we need to pick up the pace before the marshal penalizes the whole card. Players can call out slow players in a tactful way while sifting the blame to an impartial official. Marshals can be that impartial rules enforcement that all other sports have. I’m not saying they need to call every 0.5mm foot fault, but the egregious violations like dress code, time violations, and similar rules.

In order for the sport to grow and be considered legitimate, we need to stop this selective enforcement of the rules. As a disc golf community, we need to stop saying well everyone breaks rule X so why should we enforce it? There are some dumb rules and those rules should be rewritten or removed. If there are constant violations of a certain rule maybe that rule needs to be changed or have better enforcement. Either way the PDGA needs to take a long hard look at the rules and rules committee and figure out how they want this sport to proceed. The situation with Kristin Tattar looks terrible from an outside perspective and has put the PDGA and Champions Cup Tournament Director on the defensive. Unlike the 2021 Worlds situation, the PDGA needs to address this and come up with a proper solution.

3 thoughts on “Kristin Tattar and the Selective Application of the Rules

  1. 1. “I don’t understand why this was a problem in the final round but not the three previous rounds.”
    Because KT’s daughter wasn’t even there for rounds 1-3… moot point.

    2. Statute 3.05 doesn’t even apply. KT’s daughter WAS NOT and NEVER caddied for KT… again, moot point.

    3. Statute 1.13 is the only thing in play here where children under 13 must have a non-playing adult supervisor.

    4. Not sure if CD’s wife was a designated caddie or not… I still haven’t seen the coverage. If she was, then yes, he should’ve received a warning and she couldn’t caddie until she changed.

    No violation was called on the ground nor from afar. Fact is violations cannot be called from afar. Elaine was simply trying to get word to a friend in case someone else on the ground might call the violation. This isn’t so much different than a someone asking a player about to make a throw, “Hey, maybe you should check your footing… it may not be correct.”

    This blog post and all othe other internet trash is much ado about NOTHING. There was no “situation” in my opinion other than the once keyboard warriors have made up. Move along.. these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

    1. 1. At the time of writing that was not a clear point and there is a followup coming that will address that.

      2. According to Elaine King she was concerned she was caddying for Kristin Tattar when she saw her attempt to pick up her bag. If she had the caddy credential this would apply.

      3. I agree with that. But a color commentator should not be able to interfere with a sport wether that is disc golf, basketball, football, etc.

      4. I agree with that. As it was hard to tell if she was media (she didn’t appear to have a camera with her) or a caddy.

      My overall point is why was this rule specifically enforced and not all the other violations. Why is it that a color commentator can effect a live match? Through the interviews that Elaine King has done since this happened she has stated that she thought she was helping. She needs to understand that her role at the time is a color commentator and not the VP of the Board of Directors for the PDGA. Texting her friend and Paige Pierce’s caddy was not the right thing to do. In this specific situation she had the best of intentions. With a one stroke differential she easily could have brought it to the attention of Pierce and they could have made a bigger deal about a rules violation (that has not specific consequences) and at the very least played with Kristin Tattar’s mental game.

      The whole situation shouldn’t have happened. Kristin Tattar should have known the rule (she admitted she didn’t but it seems no one out there new the rule). Elaine King should have stuck to her role as a color commentator and not texted the caddy the only rival to Kristin Tattar at the time.

      I also think there needs to be enforcement of the 3.05.B that says a caddy is someone who provides assistance and carries the player’s equipment. Right now a lot of player on coverage (probably worse for those not on coverage) use the caddy badge to get a significant other inside the rope. If your SO is actually helping as a caddy (easiest example is Mason Ford caddying Valerie Mandujano) that’s great. But if they’re standing around just watching they need to go. It’s really the selective enforcement of the rules that gets me, hence the title “Kristin Tattar and the Selective Application of the Rules.”

  2. I play and watch a ton of disc golf tournaments. It drives me crazy that most every professional violates the putting rule of balance after the putt when they putt and pick up their market in the same motion never putting down their back foot, basically doing a step putt within circle one. No one ever gets called out for doing it.

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