CARY, N.C. (Reuters) - A bizarre incident involving Swede Jesper Parnevik during a professional tournament on Sunday was so unusual that officials had to consult the game’s ruling body for clarification.
The three-times European Ryder Cup member missed the chance for a “mulligan” — golf terminology for a free shot — when his short bogey putt horseshoed around the hole and hit his foot.
Rather than replaying the putt without penalty from its original spot, Parnevik instead tapped the ball in from where it ended up for what he thought was a double-bogey, only to find out later that the rules actually require a re-do.
The incident happened at the third hole during the final round of the SAS Championship on the 50-and-over Champions Tour.
“When a ball on the putting green accidentally hits any person, animal or immovable obstruction, this stroke does not count and the ball must be replaced on its original spot,” rules official Brian Claar told Reuters.
“Jesper tapped it in. In that situation he’s played from the wrong place. Unfortunately he gets a two-stroke penalty for playing from the wrong place, and the one where he tapped in counts but the original stroke does not count.”
Which added up to a triple-bogey.
If that sounds a lot to take in, you are not alone.
On-site officials were so unfamiliar with the obscure rule that they phoned the U.S. Golf Association for clarification, and were told such a situation had never occurred in a professional tournament to their knowledge.
“They said ‘did that really happen out there’?,” said Claar, who described the incident among the strangest he had encountered.
“He actually gets a mulligan,” Claar said. “It’s strange you get a do-over because there’s (generally) no such thing as a do-over unless you hit a power line or something. He should have put it back and tried again.”
Parnevik finished equal 68th in the tournament won by American Jerry Kelly at Prestonwood Country Club.
Reporting by Andrew Both; editing by Richard Pullin