There have been a number of controversial penalties in big tournaments on the PGA Tour this year. The Masters saw Tiger Woods get penalized for illegally playing a ball that he dropped and 14 year old Guan Tianlang assessed a penalty for slow play. Woods was also penalized at this week’s event, the BMW Championship, when his ball moved after he removed a loose impediment. One of the stranger penalties in recent memory, however, was given to Justin Rose in the third round at Conway Farms.
Rose was practicing his approach shot on the 14th hole and was several feet behind his ball as he was taking practice strokes. He was trying to figure out how to get close to the pin in order to card another birdie when the craziness happened. Rose took a divot with one of his practice swings – which normally wouldn’t be a big deal. In this instance, however, the divot flew forward and struck Rose’s ball, causing it to move.
By rule, since Rose technically moved his ball, he was assessed a penalty for moving his ball from its original resting place. He would go on to card a bogey on the hole en route to a 69 in the third round. After 54 holes, he is currently 11 shots behind the leader, Jim Furyk.
As soon as the incident happened, Rose knew that he would be assessed a penalty stroke – you can just tell by his body language. The wry smile he gives his caddie suggests that the random occurrence pretty much reinforced the fact that this just wasn’t going to be his week. The good news for Rose is that he will likely remain in the top 10 of the FedEx Cup standings heading into the TOUR Championship.