Anirban Lahiri has been waiting two years for redemption at the Presidents Cup. But this sport is cruel.
The Indian golfer began his 2017 Presidents Cup in Friday four-ball, doing so by hooking his opening tee shot in the water. He and Charl Schwartzel would lose the first hole to Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell.
They’d lose the second as well, with the hole being conceded after Lahiri barely got his third at the par 5 out of the right greenside bunker (Hoffman had hit it to 3 feet for eagle).
After that concession, Lahiri innocently brushed the ball back in the bunker and hit a practice bunker shot. At the Presidents Cup, practicing a putt after a hole is finished is allowed, but that is not the case with bunker shots.
This is a Presidents Cup stipulation based in the Rules of Golf. Rule 7-2 states that in match play, a golfer may make putting or chipping practice strokes after a hole is finished on or near the green of said finished hole, on or near any practice green or on or near the teeing ground of the following hole.
But everywhere else, especially a hazard like a bunker, these practice strokes (or any such practice strokes) are prohibited.
Thus, Lahiri was penalized. With that second hole already being over when the infraction took place, Lahiri was penalized on the following hole by being DQ’d from playing the third.
(Note: Lahiri did hit his tee shot on No. 3, but that was before an official caught up with him about the infraction. After that conversation and subsequent penalty enforcement, the one-hole DQ for the third was then put in place against Lahiri.)
So Lahiri essentially forfeited playing the third, meaning Schwartzel had to play that par 4 alone. The South African did actually manage to halve the hole by himself after holing an 11-foot par putt.
Still, hopefully for Lahiri, his day improves massively from here. So far, his Presidents Cup return could not have been much worse.