Rules inquiry leads to ‘the most incredible situation I’ve seen in my entire career’

Jorge Campillo's ball

Jorge Campillo's ball on Friday after his drive on the first hole at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

instagram.com/jcampillogolf

Miguel Vidaor was called for a ruling. Jorge Campillo, during Friday’s second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, had hit his drive down the 1st fairway at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Vidaor, the tournament director, saw Campillo. Vidaor saw Campillo’s clubs. 

“I got close to him, and I said, ‘Jorge, what’s the problem?’ because I couldn’t see any balls lying around,” Vidaor said on a video on the European Tour’s social media feeds. 

“And he said, ‘Well, that’s my problem.’”

His ball was lying around. 

It was just wrapped in a blanket. 

Campillo’s ball had hit about a 3-golf-ball-long divot left by a previous player, and upon contact, it improbably, completely covered the front of the ball and provided shade for the rest. So particularly placed was the strip of grass and mud that Vidaor, at first, thought it was done purposefully. 

“Obviously that wasn’t the case because there was evidence to that,” Vidaor said on the video, “so I spoke to the scorer who was scoring the hole, and he saw it all live, and basically what happened was the divot was left in an awkward position, and the ball actually went at the divot in speed, and the divot kind of wrapped the ball and ended up on top of it.”

As hard as that might be to do, the ruling is easy.  

Campillo could hit the ball, but Vidaor estimated that he’d have to hit three or four inches behind it in order to not move it ahead of time. Campillo could also remove the divot without penalty, as it’s a loose impediment. But, according to the Rules, if “your removal of a loose impediment causes your ball to move, your ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated). If your moved ball had been at rest anywhere except on the putting green or in the teeing area, you get one penalty stroke.” 

Campillo, Vidaor said, “decided because it was so bad, the amount of divot he had between him and the club, he thought, ‘Well, this is like a penalty stroke so I might as well take the risk of moving the divot and hopefully the ball won’t move.’”

Campillo, under the eye of Vidaor, grabbed both ends of the divot, and after about 15 seconds, had moved it without moving the ball. “I would have to say he would be a good surgeon,” Vidaor said. Campillo would go on to par the hole, but he is expected to miss the cut. (The event’s second round will be completed Saturday morning.) 

“The most incredible situation I’ve seen in my entire career,” Vidaor said. 

On his Instagram story, Campillo, who is from Spain, wrote “Mi bola en el 1, resumen de la semana.”

Which translates to: “My ball on the 1st, summary of the week.”

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Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor