By Alex Miceli and Jeff Rude, Golfweek
PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Professional golfers are creatures of habit, so with the rain falling and the conditions basically sloppy, routines can be altered.
That’s what happened with Woody Austin during Friday’s second round after he was trying out a driving iron on the range, looking for a possible replacement for his 3-iron.
The driving iron stayed in the bag and made it to the first tee, resulting in a two-shot penalty under Rule 4-4 (exceeding the 14 club limit) – and another on the second hole. The club was not discovered until Austin dug in the bag on the par-3 third hole for his 3-iron and saw the offending club. He declared the extra club out of play and reported the fact to a rules official when he finished the third hole.
By then the damage was done. Under Rule 4-4, Maximum of Fourteen Clubs: “The player must not start a stipulated round with more than 14 clubs.” The penalty for breach of this Rule is two strokes for each hole at which any breach occurred, with a maximum penalty of four strokes.
“Can’t say I was angry, because it was more of a shock, so you’re pretty bummed,” Austin said of how he felt when he saw the 15th club in his bag. “Just disappointed in myself that I was that stupid. I think after 20 years, I think you do one stupid thing of each (decade). And that’s my first time I’ve ever done something like that.”
Austin finished at 4-over-par after shooting 75, which included the four strokes added for the 15th club. But outside the blow of the four-shot penalty, Austin played Oak Hill at even par for the two rounds. Factoring into that, however, is a bogey on the final hole that moved him below the projected cut line – which stood at the end of the morning wave at 3 over.
“I grinded all day and the bogey on the last hole probably cost me,” Austin said. “Technically I’m even par, but I’m down the road. That’s kind of harsh.”