Phil Mickelson unlucky – and lucky – at Arnold Palmer Invitational: Rigth-handed stroke.

Clarifications USGA and R&A

Hi all.

Phil Mickelson is always up for an extraordinary stroke.

This week was no exception in Arnold Palmer Invitational, where Mickelson played this shot at the 10th hole Thursday:

Mickelson’s ball was lying in bounds, but very close to out of bounds, and instead of taking unplayable ball relief with a one stroke penalty he (of course) chose to play it, as it lay – with a right-handed stroke!

Unfortunately the ball was caught by the net, and the ball quickly dropped down to the ground… and ended out of bounds!

But Mickelson had a bit of a “lucky” break. The new dropping-Rule states, that he should drop a ball (in bounds) within one club-length of the spot where he last played from, not nearer the hole.

This one club-length moved the ball away from the net, where he could take a full swing. Under the old Rules he would have had to play the ball from the same spot as he last played, which would have made recovery quite a bit more difficult, even for Phil!

Despite this little episode, Mickelson scored a 68 with seven birdies, but a 78 in the second round which resulted in his missing the cut.



  1. Jean says

    I thought this was a local rule.

    1. MattD says

      Jean, he wasn’t using the local rule. His second shot came to rest out of bounds. From there he proceeds under Rule 18, with reference to Rule 14 which says he drops within one club length of the spot where last shot was played. Which happened to put him back on the right side of the fence

  2. MattD says

    It’s so strange that the fence was inside the OOB line. The rules define a boundary object as “defining or showing out of bounds”, so I guess the ruling was that the fence was “showing” the out of bounds, but not defining it, and as such no relief available. Poor job by the organisers creating such a situation

    1. Dagbone says

      I can’t say for certain, but it looks to me like the ball was initially at rest on the IN-bounds side of the netted fence, and the fence itself actually was defining OOB.

      Also, the Definition of Out of Bounds provides some additional leeway: When defined by other objects such as a wall or when the Committee wishes to treat a boundary fence in a different way, the Committee should define the boundary edge.

      The Committee may well have done so with a local rule.

  3. Steve W says

    He could have course have taken an unplayable prior to playing the first attempt then he would have got 2 club lengths & saved himself a shot

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