As you know by now, the gusty, swirling winds at Augusta National continued to wreak havoc in the third round of the Masters. Add that with the extra-firm and “crusty” greens and you’re bound to see something crazy happen. Like the wind blowing a ball off a flat spot on the green into a water hazard. That’s exactly what happened to Billy Horschel on the par-5 15th on Saturday.
Horschel, who was even-par on his round at the time, hit his second shot just short of the green, chipped on to about 10 feet, and marked his ball. He thought he had a good look for birdie when he replaced his ball — that is, until a gust of wind caught it and caused the ball to start rolling into the water hazard guarding the front of the green.
You can’t do anything but shake your head.
“I knew what was going to happen,” said Horschel. “I mean, I knew that once the ball rolls, once it’s in play, if it starts rolling, you have to play it from where it finishes and obviously I didn’t have my scuba gear to play it from the water.
“I just wasn’t happy. I was good enough in the sense that I expressed some frustrations to the rules official, but it was nothing out of hand, nothing out of line. I just expressed that they wanted to get the course on a fine line and it’s been, it’s on a fine line today, but it’s fair. I just, it’s an unfortunate situation where a big old gust came through, my ball was a foot or two from a false front, and it started rolling and the wind kept pushing it to the false front and it went in the water.”
Yeah, you don’t see that happen every day.
Horschel explains it, but yeah, according to the Rule of Golf, the ball is in play even after you have marked it and you have to treat it as if the ball hadn’t come to rest and was still moving after Horschel originally hit it. So, he had to take a one-shot penalty and then dropped from the far left side of the green. He chipped up and made his putt to post a bogey on the hole.
“I walk off thinking I’m going to be 1‑under par and I walk off 1‑over par,” said Horschel, who signed for a one-one 73 (which was really, really good). “So (it was an) unfortunate situation, bad luck, but I know the golfing gods, I think they owe me one, hopefully. Hopefully it comes tomorrow or in the weeks that follow.”
Ain’t that the truth.