Pro bemoans bunker ruling with self-shot video, Tour calls decision ‘cut and dried’

Pro golfer Alejandro Tosti's ball plugged in bunker at 2024 myrtle beach classic

Alejandro Tosti's plugged bunker lie in the third round of the Myrtle Beach Classic.

Instagram / @aletosti1

Time was, when pros felt wronged by rules officials’ decisions, they might carp to their caddies or even their playing partners, or to reporters after the round.
These days, there’s another option: take your grouses to the ‘gram.  
As in Instagram, which is where PGA Tour rookie Alejandro Tosti last week posted a video of a ruling with which he was less than enamored. The point of contention, which began to garner attention when Ryan French of Monday Q Info re-shared the video on X, unfolded in the third round of the Myrtle Beach Classic, which Tosti, a 27-year-old Argentine, began at four under for the tournament, eight back of 36-hole leader Chris Gotterup.

At the par-4 7th at the Dunes Club, Tosti’s tee shot plugged into a fairway bunker wall, at the point where the sand meets the top boundary of the bunker. In Tosti’s view, the ball was outside the parameters of the bunker, meaning, under Rule 3.16, he should have been rewarded free relief for an embedded ball in the “general area.” But an onsite official deemed that the ball was, in fact, in the bunker, meaning Tosti would have to play the ball as it lied.
Displeased with the ruling, Tosti pulled out his phone and shot a video of his ball, which he shared in a 15-second “story” on his Instagram account, which has 7,000-plus followers. ( has been unable to confirm whether Tosti posted the video during or after his round, but either is permitted under Rule 4.3a, which says that equipment other than clubs and balls may be used during a round as long as it does not “artificially eliminate or reduce the need for a skill or judgment that is essential to the challenge of the game.”)

“PGA Tour,” Tosti says in the video, “this ball is supposed to be in the bunker.”

Tosti also included a caption on the video in both Spanish and English…

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“Esta pelota esta en bunker o fuera?”

“This ball is on the bunker or outside?”     

…along with a poll, in which he asked his followers to vote on whether they felt his ball was inside or outside the bunker. The results of that highly unscientific survey are not available, but if comments on X are indication, fans were somewhat divided about the status of the ball’s resting place.

“Yeah that’s a tough one,” tweeted @bsweet67. “The situation is the defining the boundary of the hazard is subjective to the rules official. I’d need to see the entire bunker, how it’s cut and then make a ruling. is the turf line the line or the sand? It looks embedding in the dirt/turf.” 

Noted @lobwedge: “There’s no clear definition between sand and bunker lip b/c there’s sand on the soil of the lip. By rule the ball is in the bunker because it’s touching sand within the bunker. There has to be clear evidence that the ball is not touching sand. It’s not clear here. No free relief.”
On Monday morning, a Tour official told that the ruling was “cut and dried.” The official referenced Rule 12.1, which states:
Your ball is in a bunker when any part of it touches sand on the ground inside the edge of the bunker.
Your ball is also in a bunker if it is inside the edge of the bunker and rests:

—On ground where sand would normally be, or
—In or on a loose impediment, movable obstruction, abnormal course condition or integral object in the bunker.

Indeed, Tosti’s video showed that even though his ball was near or even on the border of the bunker, his orb also unquestionably is in contact with sand. Bad luck? Surely. But a bad ruling? Hardly.
Tosti took an unplayable lie, played his third shot from the base of the bunker and still managed to save bogey, which dropped back to four under for the week. He followed with another bogey at the 8th and then played the remaining holes in one under to finish with an even-par 71 in the third round. On Sunday, Tosti shot 74 to finish in 63rd place.    
Tosti has had a rollercoaster rookie season. He missed the cut in four of his first seven starts before tying for second at the Houston Open the week before the Masters. In his five starts since then, he has missed three cuts.

Alan Bastable Editor

As’s executive editor, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of the game’s most respected and highly trafficked news and service sites. He wears many hats — editing, writing, ideating, developing, daydreaming of one day breaking 80 — and feels privileged to work with such an insanely talented and hardworking group of writers, editors and producers. Before grabbing the reins at, he was the features editor at GOLF Magazine. A graduate of the University of Richmond and the Columbia School of Journalism, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and foursome of kids.