English golfer Simon Dyson was sensationally disqualified from the BMW Masters in Shanghai yesterday before teeing off his third round.
He had been among six players tied for second place on four-under-par after day two of the $US7 million ($8.45m) event.
Several emails and tweets from television viewers resulted in European Tour chief referee John Paramor calling for video footage of Dyson tapping down what looked like a spike mark with his golf ball on the eighth green on Friday during his second round.
Dyson was lying close to the hole and, after marking his ball, he then used it to reach forward and tap down something directly on his putting line. Paramor said: "Simon Dyson has been disqualified from the BMW Masters ... under the rules of golf (6-6d). Simon was found to have breached rule 16-1a, which states that a player must not touch his line of putt.
When the footage was reviewed, Simon was seen to touch the line of his second putt after marking and lifting his ball on the green.
"He subsequently failed to add a two-shot penalty to his score when signing his card and, as a result, has now been disqualified."
The six-time European Tour winner, who had carded two rounds of 70, was told of his disqualification yesterday morning as he was preparing for his third round.
Tour organisers said Dyson was too upset to talk about the incident.
Paramor added: "It's a very sad thing to have to do but, unfortunately, his event is now over." It means Dyson, lying 66th on the Race to Dubai, will not earn any money this week.
He had not qualified for next week's WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai and will have to qualify for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai on the Turkish Airlines Open the following week.
Only the top-60 money earners on the European Tour's Race to Dubai standings gain automatic qualification for the $US8 million ($9.65m) tournament.
Last night, America's Luke Guthrie was eight under par, jointly leading the BMW Masters by a stroke with Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello and, a stroke further back, fellow Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Four other players were on 6-under or 5-under.