News & ToursApril 8, 2011

Kuchar escapes without penalty at 12th

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Another tournament, another rules imbroglio.

This time it was Matt Kuchar on the hot seat, but the controversy over what occurred on the 12th hole Friday at Augusta National GC was resolved without a penalty.

Kuchar hit his tee shot on the par-3 12th hole into the bank of the water hazard in front of the green. One rules official thought the ball plugged into the front bunker. Playing partner Lee Westwood happened to notice an indentation in the grass bank. Kuchar and his caddie, Lance Bennett, asked the two rules officials on hand about what was permissible in trying to identify the ball. In the course of doing so, Bennett touched the ground in the hazard.

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Matt Kuchar.jpg

Matt Kuchar searches for his ball by the 12th green at Augusta. (Photo by Getty Images)

Kuchar and Bennett were whisked to Masters Tournament headquarters before Kuchar signed his card to determine if a two-shot penalty should be assessed. After more than 20 minutes of videotape review and discussion, it was decided that Bennett was merely trying to help identify the ball, not test the ground or improve the lie if Kuchar might choose to hit it.

"I was pretty confident with two rules officials there," Kuchar said later. "My caddie and I may not know all the rules, but we know what to do and not do in a hazard."

Said Fred Ridley, chairman of competition: "We are comfortable with the decision that there should be no penalty."

Kuchar ended up taking a penalty drop, and he scored a double-bogey 5 on the way to a 75. He finished 36 holes at 1-under 143, two shots better than the cut.

(Check out a video analyzing Kuchar's swing.)

-- Dave Shedloski

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