Friday, August 9, 2013

Woody With Too Many Woods...

             It’s very rare that we witness four penalty strokes dealt out in a major championship, but it happened today.  It wasn't actually extra woods that did him in, but he did have too many clubs...
            Woody Austin received four penalty strokes for carrying more than 14 clubs.    He had been debating between a 3-iron and a 21-degree hybrid prior to the round and both he and his caddie neglected to remove the un-chosen club from the bag prior to starting the round.  Austin noticed the extra club on the third hole of the round and summoned a Rules Official.  The bad news for him was that he was subject to a two-stroke penalty for each hole the Rule was breached with a maximum penalty of four strokes for the round.  Since the breach was discovered on the 3rd hole, he received two penalty strokes on the first hole and two penalty strokes on the second hole.  Austin shot 75 and missed the cut by one stroke.
            Rule 4-4a is a fairly clean-cut Rule and it is rarely breached by professionals.  It is also a unique Rule in that it has a maximum penalty per round.  Regardless of the hole the breach is discovered on, the penalty is applied to the first hole or holes of the round at two strokes per hole with a maximum of four strokes (or two holes worth of penalties).
            Had this been match play, the penalty is even more unique.  It is what we call an adjustment to the state of the match penalty.  Rather than a player losing the first two holes (which would result in a four hole negative swing had the player originally won those holes), the match is adjusted by two holes when the breach is discovered.   For clarification of the match play penalty see Decision 4-4a/9.

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