Michelle Wie learned an expensive lesson in her first tournament as a professional but it is one she hopes will not crop up again.
The 16-year-old thought she had banked £30,000 for her first proper pay cheque after finishing fourth in the Samsung World Championship in California.
However, 40 minutes after play finished she was disqualified after it was ruled she had dropped her ball nearer the hole at the seventh in the third round and should have had a two-stroke penalty and carded a 73 rather than the 71 she signed for.
"I learned a great lesson," said the Hawaiian teenager, who had to choke back tears in her post tournament press conference.
"They said it was three inches ahead but it looked fine to me. I am really sad but rules are rules and I respect them.
"Greg and I were talking when I took the drop and he said 'make sure you don't drop nearer', but I thought it looked fine. I'm very disappointed that my first [ professional] event finished this way. It was a day later and really it was all guess work [trying to remember where the ball was dropped]."
She will not miss the money she lost after last week signing £10million worth of sponsorship deals with Nike and Sony to make her the third highest-paid sportswoman in the world.
"From now on, I'll call a rules official no matter where it is, whether it's three inches or 100 yards. I respect that."
The confusion arose when she hit her second shot on the 470-yard par-five into a bush, leaving her with an unplayable lie. Wie took a penalty drop, chipped to 15 feet and saved par but during the final round it was brought to the attention of LPGA Tour officials by an American journalist.
After revisiting the spot and measuring the distance they ruled the ball had been dropped nearer the hole by a matter of inches.
Despite television pictures being inconclusive, the issue came down to the opinion of officials who felt the drop should have been made on the desert dirt and not the grass as Wie had done.
The fuss overshadowed world number one Annika Sorenstam's seventh win of the season, which secured her eighth money list title.