PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Tommy Fleetwood came to the final hole of the Honda Classic on Sunday needing to make a birdie to force a playoff with Sungjae Im. Instead, he over-cut his 5-wood from 230 yards in the middle of the 18th fairway at PGA National, and the ball landed in the water right of the green on the par 5.
Game over. Fleetwood, seeking his first PGA Tour victory, went on to bogey the hole to shoot one-over 71 and fall two shots short of the win after starting the day in the lead.
It was a stunning end to what was a wild final hour of the tournament, and one that appeared—at least to some watching at home—to have been perhaps influenced by an overzealous fan.
On NBC’s telecast, a man could be heard yelling “Get in the hole!” as Fleetwood got to the top of his backswing on the shot. By the time the 29-year-old Englishman had finished the swing, his ball was peeling to the right and headed for its watery demise, leaving many on Twitter to wonder if the outburst had affected Fleetwood’s shot.
“No, I didn’t hear anything,” said Ian Finnish, Fleetwood’s caddie, afterward. “[Tommy] didn’t mention it to me.”
When Fleetwood was asked about it, he, too, said he didn’t hear it.
“There was a lot of noise,” Fleetwood said. “But no I didn’t hear anyone yell.”
It’s possible that the shout was picked up by an open TV microphone elsewhere on the hole. Fleetwood’s lack of reaction as well as that of his caddie in the immediate aftermath also indicated they didn’t hear it.
“I hit a bad shot,” Fleetwood said. “Could have been a great shot, but actually as bad as it was, it could have landed three yards left and been on the edge of the green and I'd have had a chance. It is what it is.”