ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - Spaniard Jon Rahm incurred a one-stroke penalty when his shoe touched his ball during the second round of the PGA Championship on Friday.
Rahm was searching for the ball in thick rough on his 17th hole, the par-five eighth, when the transgression occurred at Bellerive Country Club.
Even though the ball was only a couple of yards off the fairway, marshals in the area apparently did not see it nestle into the long grass.
Rahm called for a rules official and informed him of the incident.
“I definitely felt I touched it with the top of my foot. I know I touched it. I don’t believe I moved it all,” Rahm told the official, clearly not happy with the marshals.
“Nobody was marking where the ball was. There’s nobody telling me where the ball is.”
The rules state that a one-stroke penalty will be incurred if a player or his caddie causes the ball to move, and the official deemed this had occurred.
He therefore penalized Rahm, even though the player had gained no advantage from the mistake.
Rahm went on to par the hole and shot a 67 for a five-under 135 halfway total that left him five strokes behind leader Gary Woodland.
It was an eventful morning for Rahm, whose opening tee shot struck a spectator in the head.
The man required medical attention and was kneeling with medical personnel as Rahm walked over to offer his apologies.
He was not seriously injured.
What was unlucky for the spectator was lucky for Rahm, because the ball ricocheted off the man’s head back towards the fairway, from where the Spaniard made a par.
The world number seven burst onto the professional scene two years ago and has already racked up five victories — three on the European Tour and two on the PGA Tour.
Although tipped as a future major champion, he has struggled to produce his best form at golf’s four big events. A fourth place showing at this year’s Masters has been his best effort.
The 23-year-old missed the cut at this year’s U.S. and British Opens.
Reporting by Andrew Both, editing by Pritha Sarkar