|Zach Johnson Penalised After His Last Putt on 18th
Many of you may have heard about Zach and his almost costly mistake last week. Here’s a good article about it and my tip for you at the bottom. Enjoy.
A common breach of Rules in Club golf is failing to replace a ball on the putting green where it had come to rest before being marked to the side, at the request of a fellow competitor who is putting on a similar line. However, it does not often happen following the very last putt by the tournament leader on the 18th green of the final day of a Tour event. That is exactly what happened to Zach Johnson on Sunday at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, Fort Worth, Texas. Zach he put his second shot into a greenside bunker, splashing out to about five feet from the hole, where he marked his ball.Dufner was putting on a similar line and asked Johnson to mark his ball to the side, which he did. Dufner missed his putt but then holed out, so that his fellow competitor could take the limelight.
As Johnson stood over this putt to close out the tournament he must have been more relaxed, thinking that he had three putts to win. In fact, because he had not replaced his ball where it was originally marked, he was putting from the wrong place and needed to hole the putt to avoid a play-off. The Rule that he breached was Rule 20-7c. Decision 20-7c/1 clarifies;
Note that you do not have to return to where you originally marked your ball in these circumstances. The score from the wrong place counts, including the penalty of two strokes.
Zach Johnson was celebrating his win with his caddie, Damon Green, who had been busily raking the bunker when his player was marking his ball to the side; both of them blissfully unaware of the breach. It appears that it might have been Peter Kostis, the on-course CBS reporter who first brought it to the attention of a Rules Official, who in turn notified the caddie, who broke the news to Johnson. He immediately realised that he had indeed played from the wrong place and had to think twice before realising that he had still won without the need for a play off. He entered the double bogey score of 6 for the hole, before signing his card and returning it to the scorers. The two-stroke penalty dropped Johnson to 12 under for the tournament, just one shot ahead of Dufner.
My tip for all of us finding ourselves in this situation is to put our marker down WRONG SIDE UP ,then when we go to replace our ball we get a visual clue to remind us to span back.