Euro Tour golfer cost 2 shots after spectator allegedly picks up ball

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Euro Tour golfer cost 2 shots after spectator allegedly picks up ball

Euro Tour

Euro Tour golfer cost 2 shots after spectator allegedly picks up ball

Sometimes golfers can be penalized without actually doing something wrong.

That appears to be the case for Ryan Fox, a Kiwi golfer competing this week at the European Tour’s Italian Open.

During Thursday’s first round, Fox encountered a brutal stroke of bad luck. At the Golf Club Milano’s par-4 eighth, Fox figured he would have no problem after his drive.

Only, his ball was nowhere to be found. Following the round, Fox took to Twitter to vent his frustration that a fan had picked up his ball after that tee shot.

The good news is that if it is known or virtually certain that a spectator picked up a ball, a player can replace it with no penalty.

As Fox’s tweet pointed out, though, he was cost two shots by this spectator, which would imply it could not be virtually or completely proved that the ball had been picked up. Thus, he would not receive this free drop.

He clarified that this was unfortunately the case.

Yep, Fox had to declare his ball lost and re-tee under a one-stroke penalty. Essentially, he was cost two shots because a spectator likely picked up his ball but it couldn’t be proven to the point of a free drop.

Again, Fox really couldn’t have done anything about this. There’s no doubt, this is a pure stroke of bad luck.

This is really a pretty simple problem to avoid … don’t randomly pick up a golf ball at a golf tournament! There’s actually a conspiracy Rory McIlroy was a victim of this act at this year’s Open Championship, but Fox’s example seems to be far more likely (and frustrating).

Fox, who’s had a strong season on the European Tour as he sits 26th in the Race to Dubai, still managed to open in 1-under 70 despite taking an unfortunate double bogey at that hole.

He’s straddling the cutline heading into Friday. But if spectators can avoid walking off with his golf balls, Fox may very make it to the weekend in Italy.

At the very least, he deserves some better luck on Friday the 13th.

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