Let's Get Ready to Rumble
An Unlikely Series of Events Rattled an Otherwise Quiet Monday
UPDATE: The Fire Pit Collective has been in contact with the Newton, KS Police Department regarding this story. Their Facebook post regarding this incident has been added to this story. (6/15/21 12:47pm.)
The world of Monday qualifying for Korn Ferry Tour events is normally pretty mild. I wasn’t expecting much action today and then my phone rang around 1 o’clock. The person on the other end, who shall remain anonymous, said, “This is going to be a first, even for you.”
He was not wrong.
The 8:10 tee time at Sand Creek Station Golf Club in Newton, Kansas would provide a story unlike any I’ve ever heard at a Monday qualifier. Austen Dailey and Derek Fribbs were paired with Luke Smith, who plays collegiately at the University of Tennessee-Martin. Luke’s father, Oliver, President of Memphis-based Capital Prime, was caddying for his son. The group struggled early and fell behind the pace of play.
It is not uncommon for groups to fall out of place on the golf course. Play is typically expedited in an effort to catch up. A common courtesy in any round, especially from a slow group, is for players to help each other look for wayward shots. But according to Fribbs, the Smiths would not help in the search for errant shots. Furthermore, the Smiths failed to put the pin in the hole after they putted out.
The situation came to a boil on the Par-3 seventh hole. Dailey hit his tee shot left of the green. Fribbs, ever the sportsmen, went to help Dailey look for his ball. Allegedly, the Smiths did not help in the search for Dailey’s ball. In an effort to speed up play, Fribbs holed out first and headed for the eighth tee to play his next shot and try and get the group back in position. After Dailey completed the hole he said something to Smiths about how helping to look for shots might help speed the group up. This was apparently a bridge too far for the Smiths. According to Fribbs Luke and Oliver Smith started yelling at Dailey about his quality of play and how it was affecting the group. Oliver went on to make it clear that his son Luke, “wasn’t here to look for balls.”
Dailey then turned his back and walked away towards the eighth tee. Little did he know that in a matter of seconds all hell would break loose. It was at this point that Luke Smith allegedly jumped on Dailey and started to throw punches. Fribbs, who was standing on the eighth tee, ran back to try to and play peacemaker. But Oliver Smith had other plans. The elder Smith allegedly waved a putter at Fribbs- and anyone else with an eye on jumping into the fracas. (Oliver Smith’s putter-waving was was later confirmed by another PGA Section official on site.)
The group playing behind the brouhaha called the pro shop to come break up the fight. When the golf staff arrived, Dailey was asked if he would like to press charges. “Absolutely,” Dailey said, “I was assaulted.”
The golf staff took both Dailey and Luke Smith back to the clubhouse in unarmored golf carts where Smith was placed under arrest. Smith was bailed out shortly after. No word on the whereabouts of Oliver Smith or the putter were available at the time this story was released.
Fribbs, rattled but willing to compete, had an official from the local PGA Section walk with him for the remaining holes so he could complete the round. On the tenth hole a police officer came out to get his statement. At the conclusion of play the PGA section refunded Fribbs his entry fee- a fine gesture on their part on what was a most unusual Monday qualifier for all involved.
“It was crazy, I can’t believe it happened.” Fribbs added at the end of the day.
From the Newton Police Department Facebook page