PGA Tour's top 2 rules officials retiring after long careers

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AP2010

FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2010, file photo, PGA rules official Mark Russell, left, points to a spot in the desert brush on the seventh hole as Ian Poulter, right, looks at his line of flight while getting a ruling during the semifinals at the Match Play Championship golf tournament in Marana, Ariz. White, a former player, is retiring next year after four decades as a rules official. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

ORLANDO, Fla. – For Mark Russell and Slugger White, getting into the business as a PGA Tour rules official was a lot easier decision than getting out.

With some 80 years of experience between them — Sam Snead was still playing the occasional tournament when they started — Russell and White are moving toward retirement from their official titles of vice president of competitions.

Russell says he will stay on as a consultant during the transition. White plans to work about 10 or so events next year, making himself available if the need arises.

White played on the PGA Tour for parts of four years in the late 1970s, before the all-exempt tour began, only twice cracking the top 150 on the money list.

“I found out I wasn’t quite as good as I thought I was, I guess,” White said with a laugh.

For more details on his career record, look for “Carlton” White. His father was a boxer and kept in touch over the years with one opponent who signed his correspondence “Slugger.” That became White’s name from the time he was a day old.

White’s father was a stickler for the rules, and White thought he knew them well when he decided to join the PGA Tour.

“You think you know them and then you look for a decision and there were 1,200 decisions when I started,” White said. “I’m smart enough to know that I’m not smart enough to know 1,200 decision. But I know where to find them.”