Hitting the wrong ball in stroke play is a terrible mistake because it is a two-stroke penalty in addition to having to go back to the spot where your original shot was. This happened to Hunter Mahan and Jamie Donaldson on the 18th hole in the second round of the U.S. Open.
John Wood, Hunter Mahan’s caddie, took full responsibility for the mistake, “Hunter’s ball had kicked right so I assumed it was the one in the middle of the fairway. Jamie’s ball, to me, looked definitely left. I got up to the ball, I was the first one there. Completely my fault. I went to the ball first, got the yardage, gave the yardage to Hunter, Jamie and Mic went over to their ball and played their ball after Hunter hit his. It was 100% my fault.”
“Not until we got to the green, did we realize what had happened. It was 100% on me. I was the first one to the ball.”
“Hunter was great about it. He was great all day, he had no reaction at all. He went back, and hit a good shot, ended up turning it around and birdied one.”
“I still can’t grasp what happened. It doesn’t make any sense to me…You are out here every day for 17 years, you know where the ball goes in the fairway. I can’t grasp where the ball ended up…but that is no excuse, it was my fault. I went to the ball first.”
Hunter Mahan felt the situation was a fluke, and said it may have happened one other time in his career, “Not much to describe, I just hit the wrong ball. I looked at the ball. It looked — I mean I don’t know, it was one of those things I couldn’t explain to you. Off the tee, it looked like that’s where my ball should have been, and I couldn’t explain to you how it ended up where it did. Just got to pay more attention.”
Both players made double-bogeys on 18, but then made bounce back birdies, Mahan on the first hole and Donaldson on the second hole. However, Donaldson ended up shooting an 81, and Mahan made a couple bogeys late to shoot a two-over 72. Hunter currently sits one-stroke outside of the projected cut line.
Short video of the events on 18, courtesy of GolfCentralDaily: