U.S. Open

Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2)


Pro receiving penalty for NOT taking mulligan is the weirdest rules controversy of 2019

October 15, 2019
The Ally Challenge 2019


Even by their byzantine and bizarre nature, it's been a rough go for the Rules of Golf in 2019. Still, this story involving Jesper Parnevik and a mulligan not taken puts other oddities to shame.

During the final round of the SAS Championship, Parnevik missed a short bogey putt that horseshoed around the hole and ultimately hit his foot. From there, Parnevik tapped in what remained for his double.

Only to find out that he really carded a triple.

That’s because Parnevik was entitled to replay the original bogey putt under Rule 11.1.b, Exception 2. Yes, that’s the real terminology:

When Ball Played from Putting Green Accidentally Hits Any Person, Animal or Movable Obstruction (Including Another Ball in Motion) on Putting Green: The stroke does not count and the original ball or another ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated).

However, because Parnevik failed to do so, he incurred a penalty.

And that was only after officials called into the USGA, according to rules official Brian Claar, as the crew at the SAS was confused.

“They said ‘did that really happen out there’?,” Claar told Reuters. “He actually gets a mulligan. It’s strange you get a do-over because there’s (generally) no such thing as a do-over unless you hit a power line or something. He should have put it back and tried again.”

The situation was so rare, according to Claar, that the USGA couldn’t recall the incident happening in a professional tournament.

The snaffu did not decide the event; Parnevik finished 22 strokes behind winner Jerry Kelly. That it happened away from the PGA Tour spotlight also buries its frequency. Nevertheless, the already-high bar for rules run-ins has been raised. We can only pray the next affair involves an illegal driver, pace of play and the Goodyear Blimp.