The Rules of Golf aren’t always there to penalize players, and on Saturday at the Korn Ferry Tour’s LECOM Suncoast Classic, Albin Choi needed a pair of rulings as the result of one wayward shot.
Playing the par-5 6th hole at Lakewood National Golf Club, Choi’s drive came to rest up against a shrub that didn’t offer many options for the 29-year-old, so he attempted to extract the ball from the shrub as best he could. What happened next left Choi & his caddie speechless and his driver in two pieces.
- The shot ricocheted off the shrub and went backwards towards Choi’s caddie, who in an effort to get out of the way of the ball, dropped Choi’s bag. The ball still struck it, however.
- The driver, which wasn’t used to hit the shot, was sticking out of the bag and snapped in half.
What were the rulings on the ball hitting the bag and the club breaking?
“I’ve never broke a driver ever or a wood or anything like that so just looking over and seeing the head of it just kind of dangling off, I just kind of, I was looking at the ball, I was looking at the club and then looked at my caddie, and we were all just in shock, and we just had to call a rules official right away,” Choi said.
— Korn Ferry Tour (@KornFerryTour) February 20, 2022
Luckily for Choi, both rules issues were covered under the 2019 modernizing of the Rules of Golf. Rule 11.1a covered Choi’s caddie from incurring a penalty for the ball striking the bag and Choi was allowed to repair the broken driver shaft under Model Local Rule G-9, which states any piece of equipment damaged not out of abuse is able to be replaced.
All in all, it worked out well for Choi who went on to par the hole and birdie his next hole en route to a 1-under par 70 in the third round. He would go on to fire a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for sixth alongside seven others, including 54-hole leader Michael Gellerman.