‘Tough situation’: Rules debate at Bay Hill includes pro ‘100 yards away’ from incident

A screen grab from the PGA Tour's online leaderboard of Beau Hossler's second shot on the 11th hole at Bay Hill.


Beau Hossler hit his ball into the water. That wasn’t up for debate. But his relief was. 

In a bizarre sequence during Saturday’s third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and as first reported by NBC on-course reporter Jim “Bones” Mackay, Hossler’s second shot on the par-4 11th at Bay Hill dumped into the red-lined penalty area left of the green — and at least four people argued over where Hossler should receive his rules relief. One of the people, Mackay said, was “a player from the group in front, some 100 yards away.”

According to Mackay, Hossler and playing partner Billy Horschel believed that Hossler’s shot, from 166 yards away, had crossed over the red line that defines the penalty area near the green before finishing in the water. But the player in the other group said the ball did not clear the red line there, Mackay said, and a rules official was called.   

In question was where Hossler would drop, according to Rule 17.1d. If Hossler’s ball had crossed the red line near the green, he would be able to drop in an area about 20 yards from the hole. If his ball hadn’t crossed there, Hossler would have to play from where the ball last did, which would be some 100 yards farther back.

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Mackay did not identify the player in the other group — playing ahead of Hossler and Horschel were Martin Laird and Paul Casey — but analyst Paul Azinger did wonder about it. 

“Beau Hossler played his second from the fairway bunker, and the ball ended up in the water, and there was a lot of discussion as to whether or not his ball carried over the red line that defines the penalty area,” Mackay said on the broadcast. “Without question to he and Billy and actually myself, it looked like it cleared by a good two or three feet. 

“But a player from the group in front, some 100 yards away, insisted that it didn’t. So they had a very interesting conversation out here. Billy Horschel was absolutely adamant with a rules official that it had crossed and they ended up, I think, making the correct decision, giving Beau the appropriate relief.”

As Mackay said, it was settled that the ball did cross the red line near the green and, after a penalty stroke, Hossler dropped from there. He finished with a double-bogey six.  

“That’s a tough situation for these guys if you got some guy making that kind of call from the other hole,” Azinger said on the broadcast. 

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com 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 nick.piastowski@golf.com.