As Ryan Moore’s tee shot on 17 loomed in the air, he held his follow-through while he watched the ball. It was struck well — perhaps a little too well as it flew over the green. He glanced over at his caddie and brother, Jason Moore, and shrugged nonchalantly.
Turned out Ryan’s ball hit the downslope behind the green, which caused it to shoot hard and fast down to the 18 tee box. His ball hit the cooler next to the 18 tee sign, preventing it from falling into the hazard. It took a bounce and hopped under the 18 tee sign by the famous wooden fence and dangerously close to the gully. (See picture below for reference.)
For those in the gallery who couldn’t see behind the green, confusion erupted among the spectators. What happened? Where did the ball go? Did it go in the hazard? Is he getting relief?
As it happened, the sign prevented Ryan from taking a swing. He even tried to see if he could hit it left-handed. After 15 minutes, a ruling was made and he was given a free drop in rough, just a few feet from the edge of the rocks. He pitched it over the green into the front bunker. From there, he hit a soft bunker shot (which isn’t easy from where he was) to about 10 feet below the hole, and then went on to make the putt.
The gallery roared as if it were a birdie. The guy to my left exclaimed, “What a bogey!” And the one on my right called out, “That was a fantastic bogey!”
After the round, Moore said via text message to me, “That was the best bogey I’ve ever made. I’m not normally happy with a bogey, but when a triple was the other option…”
Indeed, it was a pretty spectacular 4 (especially considering his playing partners, Alvaro Quiros and Michael Sim, also walked off 17 with 4s). And those words aren’t often uttered — which is just another testament to the tough conditions and the grind of Day 1 at the US Open.