Matthew Wolff’s putting gaffe absolved by rarely employed rule

matthew wolff after accidentally hitting his ball

Matthew Wolff's opening round couldn't have gone much worse

Golf Channel

Murphy’s Law states “anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” That adage certainly applies to Matthew Wolff’s opening round at the WGC-Workday Championship.

The young star was gobbled up by the challenging course at The Concession Golf Club, carding two doubles, a triple and a quad on his way to an 11-over 83. His scorecard looked more like that of a weekend hacker than a PGA Tour winner.

It’s safe to say this wasn’t the start Wolff had in mind when he arrived at the course this morning, nor was the highly unusual rules adventure he encountered on No. 6 (his 15th hole of the day).

After knocking his approach on the par-3 within 15 feet, Wolff had an opportunity for a rare birdie. He sized up the putt and made his practice strokes next to ball, just as he always does. But on his second pass, his putterhead clipped the ball and sent it shooting away from its original spot at a 90-degree angle.

“That would give you an idea of the sort of day Matthew Wolff is having,” said on-course analyst David Feherty.

All Wolff could do was lean on his putter and shake his head. Murphy’s Law in motion.

But there was some good news for the 22-year-old (no, the round didn’t get washed out). Thanks to a rule change in the updated Rules of Golf, accidentally hitting your ball on the putting green does not result in a penalty. This was highlighted as a “major change” in the updated rulebook, which was released in 2019.

“There is no penalty if you, your opponent or another player in stroke play accidentally move your ball or ball-marker on the putting green,” states rule 13.1d. “You must replace your ball on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) or place a ball-marker to mark that original spot.”

Other than a bruised ego, Wolff suffered no damage as a result of the snafu. It was seemingly the first good break Wolff caught all day.

After replacing his ball, Wolff proceeded to three-putt.

Murphy’s Law in motion.

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at