After hole-one rules error, Korn Ferry pro is DQ’d: ‘Pure rookie mistake’

John Lyras

John Lyras last November during the Australian PGA Championship.

Getty Images

John Lyras said he felt disappointed, embarrassed and ashamed. 

He called it a rookie mistake. 

He apologized too. 

All after an incident on the first hole of the year’s first Korn Ferry Tour event, which was also his debut tournament on the PGA Tour developmental circuit.  

As first reported by Monday Q Info’s Ryan French — whose story you can find here — the episode in the end on Sunday disqualified Lyras from the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic. But it also included a ball hit toward water, a conversation with an official and a rules error.

To begin, Lyras and 131 others were playing the event at Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Club in the Bahamas, and on Sunday, during round one, Lyras and playing partners Josh Creel and Andrew Kozan teed off on the 460-yard, par-4 10th hole, their opening hole. From here, according to French’s account, things turned hairy: 

— On stroke two, Lyras hit toward water. He thought his ball was gone. He dropped. But from the green, as told to French by Creel, Kozan noted to Lyras that his ball was not in the water and was playable. Lyras then picked up his dropped ball, played the original and bogeyed the hole.

— According to French’s story, Lyras soon understood his mistake: The dropped ball had been in play. An official was called on the 18th hole, Lyras’ ninth of the day. But the official was unsure, and the group was told to play on as the sequence was reviewed. Lyras, according to the Korn Ferry Tour’s online leaderboard, played his first nine holes at three-under. 

— The official returned. Lyras was disqualified. (A message to Korn Ferry Tour communications officials confirmed the DQ.)

golf ball on grass clump
My ball is teed up on a toupee of turf. Do I have to play it as it lies?
By: Rules Guy

Afterward, Lyras was frustrated. He told French that he wasn’t sure what to do going forward. The 27-year-old pro from Australia has just conditional status this year on the Korn Ferry Tour, so future starts are limited. 

Lyras then wrote this on his Instagram story, which was captured by French and Golf Monthly:

“Incredibly disappointed, embarrassed and ashamed at my DQ today. Pure rookie mistake. Amazing what happens when you’re super excited and anxious all together. You make stupid and quick decisions that can cost you so much, everything you work for.

“To all the players and rules officials at the @kornferrytour today in Exuma, I apologize for damaging the integrity of the game.”

On Wednesday, the tournament ended, and Jeremy Paul won by a shot over Kevin Roy. The Korn Ferry Tour returns to play with another Sunday start in the Bahamas — this upcoming Sunday, the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic begins. 

Golf Magazine

Subscribe To The Magazine

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at