Rickie Fowler missed the Players cut and his ball is still stuck in a tree at No. 6

Rickie Fowler missed the Players cut and his ball is still stuck in a tree at No. 6

PGA Tour

Rickie Fowler missed the Players cut and his ball is still stuck in a tree at No. 6

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Rickie Fowler was enjoying a strong Round 2 of the Players Championship until things got weird at the par-4 sixth.

Fowler was 5 under through 14 at that point, 3 under for the week and in good shape to make the cut. Then his ball got stuck in a pine tree right of the sixth fairway and way out of reach some 30 feet in the air.

A portion of his golf ball was clearly visible from ground level and surrounding fans seemed sure it was his. Normally he would have been able to take an unplayable lie after confirming that it was definitely his ball. In this case, no identifying marks on the ball were visible, even as Fowler tried to get a better look through a pair of binoculars.

A sizable group of fans tried shaking the tree for nearly two minutes in an attempt to jar the ball loose, but it wouldn’t budge.

“Everybody said they saw the ball go in there,” said Fowler’s caddie, Joe Skovron. “We could see the ball in there but (rules official Mark Russell) said we have to be able to identify the ball, so that’s why we were trying to get the binoculars. The angle we had, all we could see was a white golf ball.”

That meant it counted as a lost ball, so Fowler had to take a golf cart back to the tee box to hit a provisional.

“We were kind of surprised in the fact that, if everybody sees it go in a water hazard and you don’t, and everybody’s up there and says it’s in a hazard, you’re playing it like it’s in the hazard,” Skovron said. “Everybody was saying they know for sure it’s his ball. We were kind of thrown by that, but that’s the ruling and that’s how it goes.”

Fowler said he also hit his ball into a tree at No. 18 at last year’s Players Championship, but that time he was able to identify it and took an unplayable.

Fowler ultimately made double bogey at six and hit his tee shot into the water hazard at seven for another double. It undid a lot of good work on the day, including a stretch of three birdies in four holes entering six.

“Definitely pleased with how I went out today and kind of fought through things,” Fowler said. “We were in a good spot, and it would have been nice to either finish there or get one or two more (birdies) coming in, but just unfortunate timing.”

Latest

More Golfweek
Home