Rules

PGA Tour winner accepts rare 4-shot penalty with remarkably good humor

wesley bryan

As Wesley Bryan prepared to play his tee shot on the par-3 3rd hole at the Monday qualifier for the Sanderson Farms Championship earlier this week, he made an unfortunate discovery.

The 7-iron in his hands at Deerfield GC, in Mississippi, was not his gamer club.

“That’s the wrong 7-iron,” Bryan said, throwing back his head and cackling. “You can go ahead and add four to my score, boys.”

As in four penalty strokes. Trouble was, not only did Bryan have the wrong club in his hands but the right one was also in his bag, meaning he was carrying 15 clubs, or one more than the rules allow. That’s a two-stroke penalty for each hole on which the offense was committed, or, in Bryan’s case, four strokes in all.

“Wait, hold on,” said Bryan’s caddie, Matt Atkins, as he began counting his man’s clubs. (Atkins actually began the qualifier as a contestant but withdrew after 10 holes and soon after assumed looping duties for his pal Bryan.)

“Yeah, we definitely have too many,” Bryan said, still chuckling. “We have two 7-irons in there.”

Indeed, they did.

“Can you imagine if we were, like, four or five [under] at this point?”

It’s unclear what Bryan’s score was at that point, because he didn’t turn in his card. But presumably the course record was not in danger.  

Bryan did play on, though. With the right 7-iron in hand, he addressed his ball on the par-3, drew back his club and … ugh. His one-armed follow-through suggested he didn’t like the result, as did his comical post-shot commentary:    

“Maybe I should have hit the other 7-iron.”

Give Bryan credit for finding humor in what was a dire situation in a cutthroat 18-hole event where every shot is precious.

Bryan, who won the 2017 RBC Heritage and also three titles on the Korn Ferry Tour, has been ranked as high as 37th in the world. He also has developed a loyal following, along with his brother George, for his trick-shot artistry.

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