As unnatural as it may seem, golf clubs snapping is a part of the game. Whether the break is the result of anger or occurs in the course of play, repairing and replacing golf clubs is not that groundbreaking anymore.
However, what happened to John Senden on Thursday at the Australian PGA Championship is groundbreaking and unusual. Preparing to tee off on the par-5 9th hole at the RACV Royal Pines Resort – Championship Course, Senden reached the top of his backswing when the shaft of his driver gave out, resulting in what looked like a convulsion at the top of his backswing.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) November 29, 2018
The PGA of Australia tweeted out a slow-motion version of the video that shows how the shaft in the grip of the club broke.
— PGA of Australia (@PGAofAustralia) November 29, 2018
While Senden was initially worried about cutting his finger with the broken shaft, he escaped unscathed, except for a one-stroke penalty, the conversation about which you can hear at the end of the slow-mo video.
As the broadcast announcers pointed out, Senden had initiated his downswing and therefore had made a stroke at the ball. As a result, Senden had to leave his ball on the high-standing tee and play his second shot with whatever club he so chose, which ended up being a 3-wood.
The decision that Senden wouldn’t be able to adjust his teeing position after the club had been broken in the course of play left playing partner Geoff Ogilvy upset with the ruling.
John Senden’s driver snapped in the grip in his backswing. He missed the ball and stabbed himself with a jagged shaft. The rules official says the stroke counts. Geoff Ogilvy’s reaction: pic.twitter.com/uGuAqnZjMa
— Ryan Ballengee (@RyanBallengee) November 29, 2018
Senden would go on to make a bogey six on the hole and card an even-par 72 on the day, leaving him six shots back of first-round co-leaders Jake McLeod and Matt Jager.
“It just happens,” Senden said after the round. “I’ve seen it happen before to other players, but it’s the first time it’s happened to me in a tournament. The whole thing actually spooked me a bit.”