McDowell penalised for moving his golf ball

Careful where you step when walking towards your golf ball.

We highlighted a couple of week’s ago (with tongue firmly in check) how golf is much easier on the professional tour thanks to grandstands you can use to guide your ball around the golf course.

Conversely, golf is becoming more difficult for professional golfers on the big tours thanks to TV coverage. It seems like every month there is a rules infringement that was ultimately decided after a review of the TV footage, and this month, it’s Graeme McDowell’s turn.

Playing his opening round of the BMW Championship at Wentworth this week, McDowell went trudging into the bushes to find his ball on the controversial 18th hole.

As he wandered in, he trod on a stick which appeared to move his golf ball. McDowell noticed something move despite being a good few feet away from his ball, but decided to just go ahead and play the shot.

It wasn’t until after he had played his shot he called over a rules official and asked him to check the footage to see if his ball had moved.

According to rule 18-2 in the Rules of Golf, if his ball had moved, it would be a penalty stroke, and a second for not replacing it before he played the shot. If the ball had simply oscillated in its initial position, there would be no penalty.

Unluckily for McDowell, the TV footage makes it reasonably clear that the ball did move rather than wobble ,and his one-over par 71 quickly became a three-over par 73.

h/t Wei Under Par

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