The rules of golf forbid a golfer deliberately touching the sand in a bunker. And the same applies to a golfer’s caddie.
The prestigious US Amateur event took place at Bandon Dunes over the weekend. A couple of days of strokeplay sees the top 64 players progress to the knockout match play competition to determine the winner.
Previous winners include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar and Australia’s Curtis Luck.
It’s a big deal, and over the course of seven days, there are always some heartbreaking moments.
But it’s been a while since we’ve seen something this heartbreaking. And baffling.
Argentina’s Segundo Oliva Pinto arrived at the final hole of his round of 16 match against American Tyler Strafaci all-square.
After hitting his approach into a greenside bunker, Pinto’s man on the bag, a local caddie assigned to him for the week, walked into the bunker and inexplicitly bent down and brushed the sand.
A violation of Rule 12.2b which states a golfer or a golfer’s caddie cannot “deliberately touch sand in the bunker with his or her hand, a club or rake or any other object in an effort to test the condition of the surface to obtain information for the next stroke.”
And in match play, this means a loss of hole. For Pinto, his tournament was over.
Initially, the caddie denied touching the sand but the video below showed otherwise.
ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren reported that Pinto has forgiven the “heartbroken caddie”:
“I told him that if I can forgive him, everyone can forgive him, because I felt bad with the social burden on him with everyone posting on Twitter and Instagram,” Pinto said.
“My thought was, ‘I want to leave this place like a man,’ and I think I did,” Pinto said. “There’s always something positive about the negative.”
It all came down to the 18th hole.
And then this happened.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) August 14, 2020