Zach Johnson breaks the rules and still wins golf tournament

In the spirit of reporting on golf news that could potentially affect us all, we bring you another rules reminder courtesy of Crowne Plaza Invitational winner, Zach Johnson.


Zach Johnson won the PGA Tour Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial today (see video below), but the details of his one-stroke victory over Jason Dufner is interesting and a reminder to us all about marking your golf ball correctly.

Also: McDowell penalised for moving his golf ball

Johnson was three shots ahead going into the final hole and a five-foot par putt sat between him and a tournament victory. Johnson marked his ball and shifted it to one side to allow Dufner a line to the hole without interference from his marker. The problem came when he went to make his own putt. He forgot all about shifting his ball back to its original position.

He then made what he thought was a par-saving putt to win by three strokes, but was almost immediately reminded by a tournament official that he had not returned his golf ball back its original position before making this putt.

According to rule 20-7 in the Rules of Golf, if you played a ball from the wrong position, you incur a two shot penalty. Johnson’s three-stroke victory suddenly became a one-stroke victory, but a victory all the same.

Johnson was lucky that he had a three shot cushion but it is a mistake many golfers have made, or have almost made. I’ve caught myself over the ball a few times before remembering I hadn’t marked the ball back in its original position.

4 thoughts on “Zach Johnson breaks the rules and still wins golf tournament

  • May 28, 2012 at 11:21

    Nothing like a little drama in your golf day. Such a good lesson to us all. Can you imagine if he had two putted the last and lost the subsequent play-off!

    I was watching and decided to turn off with Johnson leading by three playing 18. Another lesson learned.

  • May 29, 2012 at 03:50

    If I am asked to move my marker, I do 2 things to remind me to put it back. First, I place the marker upside down, and second, I hold my putter by the face. These 2 things remind me I have to replace my marker.

  • June 2, 2012 at 13:26

    This happened a few years back in an Aussie tournament. Can’t remember who the player was. Didn’t move his marker back and missed out on the playoff due to the penalty. They replayed the footage and you can clearly hear a spectator in the crowd yell at him to move his marker back but he was too focused or something. Poor bugger…


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