Abu Dhabi, Jan 19 (AP) Scottish golfer Elliot Saltman wasbanned for three months by the European Tour today for markinghis ball incorrectly during an event last year.
The incident happened during the first round of theRussian Challenge Cup in Moscow on September 16. The28-year-old Saltman was disqualified from the event andattended a disciplinary hearing in Abu Dhabi on yesterday.
A statement released by the tour said its tournamentcommittee unanimously found that Saltman "committed a seriousbreach," suspending him from all European Tour and ChallengeTour-sanctioned tournaments with immediate effect.
Saltman is the first professional to be banned from theEuropean Tour since 1992, when Johan Tumba of Sweden wassuspended for 10 years for altering his scorecard atqualifying school. David Robertson was also banned for 20years in 1985 for replacing his ball incorrectly in aqualifying event for the British Open.
Saltman admitted after the event in the Russian capitalthat he had broken the rules but has since retracted thosecomments, saying last month that he was "sorry now that Ididn''t stand up for myself."
He has the right to appeal against the tournamentcommittee''s verdict within 28 days.
Saltman''s two playing partners in the event in Russia -Marcus Higley and Stuart Davis, both of England - alsoattended the disciplinary hearing.
Saltman gained full membership of the tour in November.