Rule 11-5: Match Play
We don’t normally write about Rules infractions because in a championship with 156 players, there are many. Most of them are small and, frankly, boring. Environmentally sensitive areas and lateral water hazards, for the most part. But a unique Rules situation came into play this morning. Player A and Player B completed the sixth hole. Player A was 3 up and had the honor. Player A teed off and hit a nice long drive down the center of the fairway. But there was a problem – wrong tee, wrong fairway, wrong hole.
Player A had teed off on the 16th, not the seventh. Here’s how it happened. Player B lost the sixth and, inadvertently, she and her caddie walked to the wrong tee. Player A, her caddie and the rules official followed. Player A teed off. A spectator told them, “This is the 16th hole.” Great consternation.
Several things then happened. The two players were walking merrily down the seventh fairway, thinking Player A had lost the hole, when the Rules official arrived and said, “Hold on.” Stephanie Parel, a USGA Rules official, told them it was a simple violation of Rule 11-5, “Playing from Outside Teeing Ground.” Player B may require Player A to tee off from between the correct markers. No penalty.
Player B actually could have required Player A to finish the seventh hole from the 16th fairway. That would have been interesting. They’re both par-4s, across a creek, down to a landing area, up to beautiful, well-bunkered greens, except that the two holes are separated by several acres of deep forest.
So, this story ends with Player B asking Player A to hit another drive, from the seventh tee. Player A complied. The players were calm and walked down the fairway giggling at the mistake. The hole has yet to be completed. Play was soon called because of threatening weather.
Player A, by the way, is Kimberly Kim. Player B is Simone Hoey. Joan Caldwell, the USGA Rules Official with the match, said, “It’s one of those things you hope never happens. But we recovered.”