It only took two rounds for a penalty situation to pop up in 2019 on the PGA Tour. And it has nothing to do with the changes to the Rules of Golf.
Dustin Johnson incurred a two-shot penalty during Friday’s second round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions after he played the wrong ball from a penalty area on the par-4 fourth at Kapalua’s Plantation Course.
According to Golf Channel on-course reporter Jim “Bones” Mackay, a marshal misinformed Johnson where his ball was in the penalty area. Johnson’s ball was actually 10 yards farther up. Johnson only realized the mistake after hitting the wrong ball.
That meant a two-shot penalty for violating Rule 6.3c(1) – “A player must not make a stroke at a wrong ball” – and an eventual double bogey on the hole.
Johnson is of course no stranger to rules issues and he offered some interesting thoughts on the Rules of Golf changes for 2019 (and beyond) the other day.
But none of that really had to do with this penalty, it was a mistaken wrong ball. The breach of that longtime rule happens from time to time, and it appears Johnson receiving bad info didn’t help either.
We weren’t going to go an entire year without a player committing a penalty on the PGA Tour, but we didn’t expect the first quite this soon.
Regardless, golf will go on.