Ever seen an amateur golfer accidentally break the rules before? Of course you have. What about a PGA Tour pro? Yup, even they have been known to fall foul of the golfing rule book from time to time... even Tiger Woods.
Golf's long list of rules may have been condensed somewhat in recent times to give amateur golfers and new players to our sport a little better understanding of what to do in tricky situations out on the course, but it's still fair to say that many golfers - both amateurs and professionals alike - are still finding themselves being docked shots from their scores as a result of breaking certain rules (unintentionally of course).
GolfMagic's Alex Lodge headed over to Hever Castle GC in Kent to meet up with resident GolfMagic Rules Official and the Lead Tournament Director of the PGA EuroPro Tour Ash Weller to discuss FIVE of the most controversial times a PGA Tour professional ended up breaking the rules.
Incredibly, both the leading players in the world right now feature in this video, along with 15-time major champion Tiger Woods. You can probably also take a wild guess as to which player finds himself in our #1 spot.
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#5 - DUSTIN JOHNSON: 2010 US PGA
Dustin Johnson sent an errant tee shot down the final hole at Whistling Straits, and his ball ended up in a sandy waste area that was deemed a bunker during the week of the tournament. Johnson seemingly was none the wiser and grounded his club behind the ball, and was then assessed a two-stroke penalty while he was walking off the green. It would eventually prevent Johnson from entering a playoff that saw Martin Kaymer defeat Bubba Watson. "It was a bit of brain fart," said Weller of the incident.
#4 - JON RAHM - 2020 MEMORIAL
It was golf's equivalent of a Premier League VAR check. Jon Rahm was left with a delicate flop shot from the deep greenside rough to the left of the green at the par-3 16th, and to his credit he holed it to wrap up the tournament. The only problem was that a slo-mo close up camera on Rahm's ball appeared to show his ball oscillate ever so slightly, and it would therefore result in a two-stroke penalty for a bogey-four instead of a birdie-two. The Spaniard was not notified until after the round, but had he known at the time of the incident, the news may very well have rattled him with two holes to play. Thankfully for Rahm, he held on for the win and it was a victory that sent him to the top of the world rankings (at the time) for the first time in his career.
#3 - JEFF OVERTON - 2013 CROWNE PLAZA COLONIAL
Jeff Overton was disqualified from the Crowne Plaza Colonial Invitational on the Saturday for using a putting alignment device as he made the turn in the third round. According to PGA Tour officials, Overton violated rule 14-3 while waiting to tee off at the 10th hole. You would like to think an experienced PGA Tour pro would have realised doing this was against the rules of golf, but not Overton and he was eventually DQ'd from the event. A number of other golfers on Tour have also broken this one before, so all we can say to you is remember to keep those training aids out of sight during competition to avoid a similar fate.
#2 - TIGER WOODS - 2013 MASTERS
One of the most memorable rules incidents of the past 10 years, certainly where Tiger Woods is concerned. Woods crashed his third shot on the par-5 15th at Augusta National against the pin and his ball unfortunately rolled back into the water short of the green. Woods then took his drop (back then from shoulder height, it's now from knee height) under a one-stroke penalty, but after the round it was deemed the former World No.1 had taken his drop from a different position from where he had played his third shot. Woods ultimately shot himself in the foot in his post-round press conference when citing he deliberately dropped his ball a couple of paces further back from where he had done before in order to avoid doing the same thing (hitting the pin) with his fifth shot. Woods would go on to sign for a six when it should have been an eight. Despite signing for a wrong score, Woods avoided a DQ due the the tournament committee not speaking to him about the incident before he had signed his card. As a result, the incident went down as a committee error and Woods was assessed a two-stroke penalty instead of a DQ. Woods went on to finish tied fourth and four strokes out of the playoff which saw Adam Scott go on to defeat Angel Cabrera for his maiden major title.
#1 - PATRICK REED - 2019 HERO WORLD CHALLENGE
Quite possibly the most controversial golf rule incident of all time. Let's just say it certainly caused outrage on social media at the time. Without going into too much detail - as let's face it, you probably remember it all quite well even today - Reed was deemed to have moved some sand away in the waste area on two occasions to give himself a better lie. While Reed claimed he had no intention of breaking the rules, what was clear is that the American's lie looked much different from the lie he had before he started waggling his club around behind the ball. Tour Officials discussed the incident with Reed after the round, and it led to a two-stoke penalty - CLICK HERE TO WATCH WHAT HAPPENED.
Stay tuned for more in our latest Golf Rules Video Series with Ash Weller over the coming days...