Rules Guy: Knowledge was power for McDowell on 17
Sunday at the Chevron World Challenge featured one of the most exciting finishes of the year, but it also featured a Rules-related scenario from which any recreational player would be wise to learn.
Up one stroke on the tee of the par-3 17th, Graeme McDowell pulled his ball into deep fescue left of the green. The reigning U.S. Open champion had little choice but to take an unplayable lie, but he had a tough decision to make, as there was no good spot for him to take his drop within two club-lengths no closer to the pin (Rule 28a). While most golfers know that the player also has the option to return to the spot of his previous shot and play the ball again with a one-stroke penalty (Rule 28c), I'm willing to bet that many were surprised to learn that there was a third option.
McDowell knew that a player may also drop his ball anywhere behind its original landing spot as long as that landing spot stays between the drop location and the hole (Rule 28b). Since there is no limit to how far back a player can go, McDowell dropped his ball all the way back on the 18th tee. With a clear shot (and a perfect lie) into the green, the Irishman got up and down for bogey, salvaging a tie that he would eventually convert into a playoff victory. It was McDowell's steely putting that will get the credit for this win, but it may just have been his knowledge of the Rules that really saved the day.
(Photo: Gus Ruelas/AP)