Why there’s a yellow rules sticker on Wyndham Clark’s Pebble-record scorecard

Wyndham Clark

Wyndham Clark hits his tee shot on Saturday on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach.

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Wyndham Clark smiled. He had reason to. He was holding his scorecard for the camera. He was holding history. 

To the far right of the white piece of paper in his hand were two numbers no one had ever written before at majestic Pebble Beach: a six and a zero. Sixty. Twelve-under par, shot Saturday during the third round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. A course record

To the left of that were more 3’s than you’d see at a basketball game. 

A par four on the 1st hole. An eagle three on the 2nd. A par four on the 3rd. A birdie three on the 4th. A par three on the 5th. An eagle three on the 6th. A birdie two on the 7th. A birdie three on the 8th. A birdie three on the 9th. Added together, that was a 28, which tied the tournament’s front-nine record, recorded three other times, according to stats guru Justin Ray

To the right of those numbers were his back-nine scores. A birdie three on the 10th. A birdie three on the 11th. A bogey four on the 12th. A birdie three on the 13th. A birdie four on the 14th. A par four on the 15th. A par four on the 16th. A par three on the 17th. A birdie four on the 18th. And that was the 60. The course tournament record has been a 62, set four times (Tom Kite in 1983; David Duval in 1997; Patrick Cantlay in 2021; and Matthias Schwab in 2022). Hurly Long shot a 61 during a college event in 2017.  

But you can’t help but notice the sticker on the scorecard. It’s neatly attached. It’s yellow, with black letters. It says this:

“Preferred Lies. Model Local Rule E-3 in effect for this round only.”

Interesting. It’s here where you may have some questions, like:

— What is ‘Preferred Lies?’ 

Good question. If enacted, your lie can be preferred — to what it had been. The designation is sometimes called ‘lift, clean and place’ and that essentially explains what you can do when preferred lies is in play — if your ball is in the fairway, you can, yes, lift the ball up, clean it and then place it back down within a club length of where it was, but no closer to the hole. 

— Interesting. Is it in play all the time?


— When is it?

Usually under soggy, rainy conditions. Here’s what’s the USGA’s rule book says:

“When occasional local abnormal conditions might interfere with fair play, the affected parts of the course can be defined as ground under repair. But adverse conditions such as heavy snows, spring thaws, prolonged rains or extreme heat can sometimes damage the course or prevent use of heavy mowing equipment.

“When such conditions are widespread on the course, the Committee can choose to adopt a Local Rule for “preferred lies” (also known as “winter rules”) to allow fair play or help protect the fairway. Such a Local Rule should be withdrawn as soon as conditions allow.”

— Who determines whether it’s in play?

Another good question. In our case here, the PGA Tour’s tournament committee.  

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— Why did it make the decision to do so on Saturday (and Friday and Thursday)?

While it was not officially announced, the most likely reason is that Pebble is soaked. Storms have hit the area. 

— Do folks sometimes get a bit bothered when it’s enacted?


— Interesting. Why’s that?

We’re not mind-readers. But yes, the game gets a little easier. A clean ball is better than a dirty one. A placed ball is usually better than a ball where you originally found it. Players admit this, too. 

— What’s the ‘Model Local Rule E-3’ designation mean?

That’s how it’s listed in the USGA’s rules book. Model Local Rules are enforced by tournaments or courses. 

— Why the sticker?

GOLF.com emailed out to the PGA Tour communications staff for this one. Here was the response on Sunday:

“It is there as a reminder for the players.”

— Do you think Clark cares?

On-site reporters did not ask him after his round. Of course, he still had to hit the shots. He still had to make the putts. He still was in the lead. He still could win the tournament — he leads after three rounds, and with more storms coming, there’s a chance there may not be more golf. Clark will still get paid. He still took 60 strokes at Pebble Beach. 

“I haven’t shot 59,” Clark said Saturday, “but I would say even if I had shot 59 somewhere, I don’t think it would compare to shooting a score like this at one of the most historic golf courses in the world.” 

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.