4 PGA Championship rules dilemmas and how they turned out

bryson dechambeau broke his driver

Bryson DeChambeau checks out his broken driver.

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The 2020 PGA Championship hasn’t been short of strange rules incidents, from Rory McIlroy to Bryson DeChambeau and a few under-the-radar players in between.

So to help you avoid any issues of your own the next time you hit the course, here’s a quick run-through of the most notable moments, and how they turned out. Get your notebook out.

1. Bryson’s Driver Break

The first, and probably most memorable, rules moment of the 2020 PGA Championship was Bryson’s driver break on Thursday. It wasn’t his fault; as he explained afterward, he had hit his driver so many times that the materials had started wearing down. After a shot that went unexpectedly wayward, he leaned on his driver as he bent over to pick up his tee and watched it snap into two pieces.

Ruling: According to Rule 4.1, since Bryson didn’t break the driver intentionally, he was allowed to replace the broken driver with the same model without penalty. 

2. Tringale’s Scoring Error

Cameron Tringale played well during his second round on Friday. He shot 68 and should’ve made the cut on the number — except he didn’t. Tringale accidentally signed for a lower score on the par-3 8th hole than he actually made.

Ruling: Because Tringale signed for a score lower than he made, he was disqualified under Rule 3.3b(3).

3. Hovland’s Ball Lift

In an incident that flew somewhat under the radar during Friday’s second round, Viktor Hovland ripped a 308-yard drive down the middle of the 14th fairway. Thinking the lift, clean and place rules were in effect, Hovland walked directly up to his ball, marked it and lifted it. He immediately realized what he had done, replaced his ball, and reported the incident to rules officials.

Ruling: Under Rule 9.4b, Hovland was issued a one-stroke penalty for deliberately touching and moving his golf ball.

4. Rory’s Ruined Lie

Playing the par-3 3rd hole on Friday, Rory’s ball was situated in the rough to the right of the green when an ESPN reporter accidentally stepped on his golf ball.

Ruling: Rory was allowed to replace his ball without penalty under Rule 9.2, under the supervision of a rules official, and earned widespread appreciation from golf fans when he willingly took a worse lie that he thought was more “fair.”

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Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is an English-American who oversees the brand’s service journalism content across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms. An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. Following graduation, he spent two years as a digital editor at Golf Digest before spending three years as a Senior Editor at USA Today.