Zach Johnson struck his ball in practice swing in the Masters – no penalty!

Hi all!

Yesterday in the Masters, Zach Johnson encountered a weird episode where the Rules of Golf subsequent were discussed:

As you can see, he struck the ball in a practice swing, whereafter it was deflected by one of the tee-markers … and then ended a few yards away to the left of the teeing area!

Johnson looked quite surprised and confused!

Luckily the Rules of Golf are pretty simple in this situation:

  1. It was not a stroke (no intention – see the Definition of a “Stroke”).
  2. He did not incur any penalty (since the ball was not in play – see Rule 9).

Thus Zach Johnson could simply get his ball, tee it, and play his first stroke  :-).

/Brian

6 Comments
  1. FRANK J SKUSE says

    I FEEL THE DROPPING FROM KNEE HEIGHT SHOULD BE CANNED AND GO BACK TO SHOULDER HEIGHT, IT LOOKS AND FEELS STUPID, AND NOT AT ALL PROFESSIONAL, AND I WAS UNDER THE PRESENT RULE CHANGE THAT IF YOU DROPPED THE BALL FROM SHOULDER HEIGHT YOU COULD REDROP IT FROM KNEE HEIGHT WITHOUT A PENALTY IS THIS TRUE

    1. Mike Dixon says

      Hi Frank,

      Some sympathy for your view on the change. There is no limit on the number of extra drops allowed, if some are shoulder height. Rule 14.3 is clear.

      Furthermore the extra drops don’t count for determining the spot to place, if the 2nd drop rolls to far.

  2. Louis M Pappas says

    What’s the ruling from the green if you accidentally hit the ball with your practice stroke?

    1. VJOB says

      No penalty and ball must be replaced the ball ( R 13.1d)

  3. Joe H says

    I’ve notice that very few balls are dropped from exactly knee hight, some are and inch below, some are an inch above. Surely it would be sensible to change the rule to “not less than knee hight”.

  4. Graham Noble says

    Shoulder height drops were probably never exactly from shoulder height either. I cannot see any possibility of an advantage dropping an inch or so out from knee height. A fickle question: should the drop be from the top of the knee or the bottom of the knee?? My knee is a few inches from top to bottom.

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