Michelle Wie played her first professional golf tournament this weekend, but she was disqualified after unwittingly cheating rather than taking a 2 stroke penalty.

A spectator told LPGA rules official Robert Smith on Sunday that he thought Wie had dropped the ball nearer the hole when she had taken relief from an unplayable lie in a bush on the seventh hole a day earlier. Minutes after signing for Sunday’s final-round two-over 74 that left her 10 shots behind winner Annika Sorenstam, Wie and her caddie Greg Johnston were taken back to the spot at the 470-yard hole where Smith deemed that she had indeed taken an incorrect drop. “It was a little closer to the hole,” he explained. “Because of that, she broke Rule 20-7 and the penalty is two shots. But because she had not declared the penalty before she signed the scorecard, then I’m sad to say that it is a disqualification.”

That is a bum deal for her, but she has to play by the rules. She did not realize she had made a bad drop, and nobody thought to mention this until after it was too late for her to take a 2 stroke penalty. She may not have meant to cheat, but now she has to give up her first paycheck.

I blame the caddy for the mistake, though. He is a lot more experienced than she is, and they should have cleared up where to drop the unplayable ball at the time rather than just assuming they knew what they were doing. Also to blame is the sportswriter who wanted to get a scoop rather than reporting it immiediately to officials.

So it goes, though. She learned her lesson, and I am sure that she is going to overcome this minor setback and have a sterling career over the next few years.

You can read another article about it over at Sports Illustrated.