Former Ryder Cup player incurs embarrassing two-stroke penalty at St. Andrews -- thanks to his caddie

October 06, 2017

Warren Little

Every golfer has teed up in front of the proper tee marker at some point -- and without fail, has taken a ribbing for it from friends. But usually those friends point out the mistake before the person hits his shot. One former Ryder Cup player wasn't as fortunate on Thursday.

David Howell was having a nice round at the Old Course at St. Andrews -- especially since it was his first competitive round after sitting out two months with a back injury -- during the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. But after hitting his tee shot on No. 18, he realized he'd broken one of golf's simplest rules. Or rather, his caddie noticed. After his round, the two-time Ryder Cup player and five-time European Tour winner explained the rarely seen -- and embarrassing -- penalty he incurred:

Instead of making par on the famed, short par 4 (Watch Rory McIlroy drive the green on the same day), Howell signed for a double bogey that dropped him back to even par. Not his finest moment, but he'll still have plenty of fond memories of St. Andrews. Howell's last win on the European Tour came at this event four years ago when he beat Peter Uihlein in a playoff. Here's the section of golf's rules that addresses this situation:


Anyway, good for Howell's caddie for standing up to his new boss. And good for Howell for handling the silly mistake so well. You don't see the term "plonker" enough these days.