The video above is definitely worth a watch — not just because it involves legendary rookie Andres Gonzales and famed official Jon Brendle, but because the audio is so clear, it gives us a closer look at how Tour rules officials handle rulings and serves as another example of a player calling a penalty on himself.
Dres, who is one of the greatest characters on the PGA Tour, along with having the most creative facial hair (random cool fact: he’s growing out his hair to donate to Locks for Love), tried to call a penalty on himself during the first round of the Byron Nelson Championship. Dres was setting up for his approach shot on No. 9. and put his club down on the ground (not directly behind it, more in back of it — pause the video in the first few seconds to see), but then he suddenly backed off because he believed he had caused the ball to move, which meant he had incurred a one-shot penalty.
Since he wasn’t sure if he had to replace the ball, Dres called over a rules official. Jon Brendle arrived to the scene and asked Dres to show him what had happened and how he set up to it, etc. Brendle assessed the situation and told Dres, “You’re not under penalty.” A bewildered Dres replied, “I’m not?”
“It’s all about how far behind it,” explained Brendle. “You’re putting it down too far behind it. It’s not directly behind it. You have not put it down in an area where it’s going to make the ball move.”
I think the rule Dres believed he violated was 18-2b, which says, “Ball Moving After Address. If a player’s ball in play moves after he has addressed it (other than as a result of a stroke), the player is deemed to have moved the ball and incurs a penalty of one stroke. The ball must be replaced unless the movement of the ball occurs after the player has begun the stroke or the backward movement of the club for the stroke and the stroke is made.”
Neither Andres nor JB could be reached when this post was published. I will update with more information, if pertinent, after I speak with them.
After reviewing the video for yourself, do you think the ruling in the field stands? Or should Dres have received a penalty? Brendle is one of the best — if not the best — official on the Tour, so I trust his call. But I’m also not a rules expert, so please chime in!