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Russell Henley penalized eight (!!) strokes for violating One Ball Rule, will miss cut at Mayakoba Golf Classic

November 16, 2019

Gregory Shamus

After shooting a two-under 69 in the second round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic, Russell Henley did what many of the tour's "nice guys" do: he went into his bag to grab a few golf balls to sign and hand out to fans. Nice gesture, one that should be met with some good karma from the golf gods. Instead, it got Henley in a world of trouble with the rules.

While sorting through the balls, it came to Henley's attention that he had accidentally used a ball other than his usual Titleist Pro V1x during the round. This is a violation of the PGA Tour's One Ball Rule, not a part of the Rules of Golf, but is usually only adopted for professional golf tournaments as well as high-level amateur events. The rule requires players to use the same ball throughout the round, meaning Henley violated the rule if he did not use the same Titleist Pro V1x model that he began the day with.

"It was a small dash, a different way it was marked that would have been easy to overlook," said PGA Tour Rules Official Brad Fabel. "He came to us and said he didn’t know how it had gotten in his bag."

Henley's reward for calling himself out? Eight penalty strokes, as he figured he used a different model ball on holes 9-12. He was given a two-stroke penalty on each hole, giving him a 77 instead of a 69. Brutal:

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Henley had shot a first-round 66, meaning with a second-round 69, Henley would've climbed into contention, six off the lead at the time. The eight penalty strokes dropped him to one over, which is two shots shy of the cut line. Prior to this week, the three-time tour winner was riding an eight consecutive made cut streak, dating back to July.