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PGA Championship 2022: How Will Zalatoris handled a wild rules situation for an all-time crazy bogey

May 22, 2022

TULSA — There are good bogeys and there’s what Will Zalatoris pulled off on the par-3 sixth hole during a surreal 15 minutes in final round of the PGA Championship.

Tied for the lead at eight under while standing on the tee box on the 218-yard hole, Zalatoris hit an adrenaline fueled 7-iron over the right side of the green. The supercharged shot wound up hitting a slope behind the green, rolled over a cart path into bushes behind the hole.

And then the fun began.

Zalatoris’ ball did not roll through the bushes and out of bounds, but was stuck inside the bushes, making it impossible for him to take a swing. In consultation with the rules official following his group, Zalatoris chose to take an unplayable lie, which results in a one-shot penalty.

Under Rule 19.2c, Zalatoris would add a shot to his score but was entitled to two club-lengths of relief no nearer the hole. That would mean the ball would likely land on the cart path. Making things even more dicey: There was a TV tower between the ball and the flag, created its own issue.

But first things first. Zalatoris had to take relief from the unplayable lie. His first drop hit the cart path and rolled outside the two clublengths. Same with the second, so he placed the ball where it landed, sitting it on the cart path.

At this point Zalatoris was now entitled to free relief from the tower, which is deemed a temporary immovable obstruction (TIO) using the procedures under Rule 16. Once again he was able to move his ball, this time one clublength from where the TIO came into play (to define a relief area that was clear of the obstruction). Then he got another clublength from that area to make his drop. This, too, would result in the ball being dropped on the cart path. Zalatoris proceeded to go through two drops, the second of which bounced on the cart path and eventually fell into a seam on the path.

Now the question was would Zalatoris take relief once more, this time from the cart path, which he was entitled to under Rule 16.1. However, relief here would require him to drop the ball back toward the bushes on the other side of the path, giving him little to no room for a backswing. Zalatoris didn’t even seem to think about this, instead taking out a wedge and hitting the ball off the cart path from the seam.

Impressively he hit the ball up on the green with what was his third shot (adding the penalty stroke for the unplayable lie), leaving himself an eight-footer for bogey. Zalatoris found the side door, the ball falling in for his 4. While all the rulings were taking place, Mito Pereria had made a birdie on the fifth hole to take the outright lead. Zalatoris' bogey then put him two back, but he'd gladly take that compared given the worse outcome that could have happened on the hole.

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