It wouldn’t be a major championship without some sort of rules controversy. Fortunately, this one didn’t affect the outcome. During the final round of the PGA Championship, Ian Poulter got into it with a rules official over what appeared to be a fairly straightforward situation.
The Englishman was going along nicely at 3-under par on the day until he hit a drive wide right off of Quail Hollow’s par-4 eighth tee. His ball crashed into the trees inside an area marked as a lateral hazard.
No big deal, right? Find the nearest point from where it originally crossed the hazard, take a penalty stroke, a drop and move on. Well, that wasn’t exactly the case.
The issue was that nobody could find the ball. Under 27-1c, the rule states that a ball is deemed lost if not found after a five-minute search the player would be assessed a stroke-and-distance penalty and play three from the tee. This appeared to be the official’s initial ruling.
Ian Poulter argues over ball being lost in interesting #PGAChamp rules drama.
— Golfweek (@golfweek) August 13, 2017
However, the fiery Poulter was having none of it, and he has a gripe based on the video replay. What he was arguing was an exception to the rule where it states if it is virtually certain that the original ball that has not been found is in the hazard, the player is entitled to a drop at the nearest point of where it entered.
“If it’s here, we would see it,” he proclaimed. “You’ve got to be kidding me. You’ve absolutely got to be kidding me.”
While a somebody found a ball after the five minutes was up, it wasn’t clear if it was Poulter’s nor did it apparently matter at the time. After a quick consultation with another official, officials deemed Poulter’s ball to be lost in the hazard. He went on to take his drop, punch out and get up-and-down for a bogey. He would go on to finish T22.
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