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Johnson Wagner, still an unstoppable content machine, makes the Xander Schauffele rules incident seem interesting

May 10, 2024

Ben Jared

When Golf Channel's Johnson Wagner releases his greatest hits album in a couple years, the first single is obviously going to be "throwing balls as hard as he can at a bank by the water" from this year's Player Championship. But now, we here at Digest submit that golf's version of Bear Grylls has a new banger for the collection. Today, in the aftermath of the Xander Schauffele rules "controversy" from Thursday at the Wells Fargo Championship, when he got relief from a ball buried deep in the woods due to a wire from a shotlink tower (infuriating the Internet in the process), Wagner was on hand to recreate the moment with Tour rules official David Donnelly. It's another brilliant hands-on video from Wagner, both entertaining and informative. Take a watch:

The main takeaways:

  1. Xander Schauffele absolutely had a "window" and almost certainly could have punched out.
  2. The fact that he had a window was critical in the ruling, because it mattered that he had a reasonable shot to get out of the woods.
  3. The reason Schauffele got out of the woods entirely is that once there's a viable path out of the woods, you get to go until you can see the flagstick without any interference, plus a club length more.
  4. Wagner executing the shot proves the point that Schauffele's "window" was no fantasy.
  5. A few internet commentators took the opposite point from the shot, as in, "why didn't Schauffele do that instead of taking relief?" Which seems like a fair point, except that as you see from this screenshot, it came really close to hitting the tower and the wire, pretty going right between them, and if Schauffeledid hit the wire, at that point there's nothing to be done about it.

Nobody's saying this isn't a bizarre situation—it very much is. But the beauty of Wagner's video is that it breaks the whole thing down point by point, and in the end, despite the apparent strangeness of it, it all ends up looking justified. We have to tip our caps to Wagner...we came to watch him muck around in the woods, but without expecting it, we also learned something.