Pro thought he could touch his ball. The rules said otherwise.
Adam Schenk, on Thursday and Friday at this week’s Houston Open, could dust off his ball should it have landed in any fairway at Memorial Park. Storms had soggied the course, and lift, clean and place was in play.
But this was Saturday.
In an unfortunate move, and as first reported by pgatour.com, Schenk touched his ball on the 5th after thinking he could after a drive into the fairway during the third round, and his par four became a bogey five after incurring a one-stroke penalty. It was a violation of Rule 9.4b, which states: “If the player lifts or deliberately touches his or her ball at rest or causes it to move, the player gets one penalty stroke.”
To Schenk’s defense, lift, clean and place, or preferred lies, had been in play during the first two rounds, and all four rounds at last week’s World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. Rule 8E-2 under Model Local Rules states: “When conditions such as wet ground conditions throughout parts of the course may cause mud to stick to the ball, the Committee can choose to allow the player to lift, clean and replace the ball in the general area. Such relief should be limited to those portions of the course where needed.”
Schenk, who had been in a share of the lead at the time, bogeyed two more holes on Saturday, birdied none and finished with a two-over 72. He entered Sunday’s final round three shots out of the lead.
“Well, before the round started, Woody, you had predicted somebody would do exactly what Schenk did,” analyst Curt Byrum said on Golf Channel’s broadcast of Saturday’s third round.
“It just becomes part of the routine after doing it so many rounds in a row so it doesn’t surprise me at all,” said analyst John Wood, also a longtime caddie.