Teeing ground error from David Howell: Two penalty strokes

Hi all!

I guess we have all tried to tee the ball a bit outside the teeing ground. Most times, however, we have been told about the error – or have found out ourself – before we made the stroke (and thereby avoided the penalty).

David Howell found out too late.
The former Ryder Cup player David Howell did exactly that Thursday in the first round of Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews (hole number 18): Played from outside the teeing ground. Instead of a par he had to accept a double bogey, due to two penalty strokes incurred under Rule 11-4:

The caddie’s first day at work!
The caddie was the one to point out the error, but – allegedly due to some confusion about the different teeing grounds – he did not notify Howell until after he had made the stroke from the teeing ground:

By the way it was the caddie’s very first day at work! So: On one hand it was really great that he told him (instead of keeping silent). On the other hand it was bad, that he did not find out (or told it) until after the stroke.

But: Howell should of course have been aware of it himself and corrected the error before the stroke was made.

Howell handled well.
David Howell handled the incident really well. He did not blame the caddie (or the course), but simply accepted what had happened and in fact praised the caddie:

(The reference is for him to fire the caddie).

Good point and a great way to handle it.

Missing the cut.
Howell had a 72 (par) Thursday (could have been a -2, 70!) and a 76 Friday and thereby missed the cut.

The tournament was Howells first after an injury break of two months.


Rule 11-4 states, that you have to correct your mistake, i.e. go back to the teeing ground and play a new ball from within the teeing ground. I am not aware whether or not he did. Let us hope so. If not, he should have been disqualified when walking away from the 18th green without stating his intention to correct the error.

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