Mark James’ ball struck a seagull… and ended out of bounds!

Hi all.

I have a candidate for the most unlucky stroke in 2018!

Mark James played in The Senior Open (St. Andrews, Old Course) first round Thursday, and drived out from the teeing ground on the very difficult 17th hole (The Road Hole).

Unfortunately, his drive struck a seagull in midair causing the ball to change direction… ending out of bounds!

See the video below:

The Rules of Golf are clear (Rule 19-1): Play the ball as it lies. In this case, because the ball was out of bounds it had to be played from the teeing ground under penalty of stroke and distance, i.e. he had to play his third stroke.

It is unknown for me what happened to the seagull. Mark James made a triple bogey on the hole – and his score for the round was 77 (+5).

After the second round today (Friday) Jiménez is in the lead, and Mark James will miss the cut after a 73 (+1) today.

A lot of legendary players are in the top of the leaderbord, including Langer, Singh, Watson and Montgomery…

UPDATE: Jiménez won!


  1. Doyle says

    I play a course that has a power line crossing the closely mown area, we have always contended that if the bell strikes the line, the stroke is canceled and you re tee the ball
    What about if you strike a flying bird

  2. Terry says

    A flying bird is an outside agency and if it deflects the ball it is a rub of the green and the ball must be played as it lies. If out of bounds, that means three off the tee. If the ball is deflected back from going out of bounds onto the course – or even into the hole – that’s rub of the green too, lucky golfer! Rule 19-1.

    I understand that the R&A issued an edict a few years ago stating that power lines and pylons should be covered under a local rule stating that strokes must be re-played. Years ago I played at Broadway where there are power lines crossing a par-3 and the ball was as likely to land out of bounds as on the green if it hit one. In those days you could choose whether to replay without penalty or play the ball as it lay. As it was usually a good stroke that hit the line that seemed fair as it would probably have ended up better if it had missed, but I’m sure there were some poor shots that benefited!

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