‘A nightmare scenario’: Matthew Wolff is stung by bizarre ‘bad rake job’

Matthew Wolff

Matthew Wolff hits his second shot on Sunday on the 13th hole at TPC Summerlin.

Golf Channel

Matthew Wolff hit his tee shot on the 13th at TPC Summerlin, it surprisingly stopped just a foot from the lip of a fairway bunker, and Jim “Bones” Mackay winced. 

No stranger to caddying, Mackay is familiar with both the work of a good loop, and that of a bad one. And this?

“This is horrible,” the analyst said on the Golf Channel broadcast.

Wolff’s ball, Mackay saw during Sunday’s final round of the Shriners Children’s Open, had come to rest in a groove in the bunker left by a bunker rake and failed to trickle down into a more manageable shot. While you could successfully argue that Wolff shouldn’t have been in the sand in the first place, you could also make the point that he’d at least get the common courtesy of having the people in front of him clean up after themselves. 

From his near-impossible position, Wolff hit his ball just 19 feet.    

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“The reason this ball didn’t release back down in the bunker some 15 feet is it got caught up in a bad rake job,” said Mackay, both Phil Mickelson’s former longtime caddie and Justin Thomas’ new one. “So just a nightmare scenario for Matthew, who can’t get this ball back to the fairway.” 

“Awful,” analyst Curt Byrum said on the broadcast. “He’s got to be frustrated right now.” 

Indeed. Outside of the bunker, Wolff’s ball would settle both on a downhill lie and about 10 yards short of a mound — which he smacked, the ball advancing just 89 yards. Down five shots to the surging Sungjae Im and in need of birdies, Wolff would bogey the scorable par-5. 

“Gosh, his head is spinning right now, and his caddie is trying his best there to slow him down and say, look, where are you aiming, what are you trying to do, but he’s on the run,” analyst Trevor Immelman said on the broadcast.

From there, Wolff would rebound with birdies on 15 and 16 and finish second, four shots behind Im.

“I just, I really, I’ve never seen a break like that,” Wolff said afterward. “I hit a good drive and I thought I could carry that bunker like I’ve been all week, but unfortunately, it just went in the lip. But, I mean, with a 3-wood, you think it would just roll down to the middle of the bunker and then you would hit something into the fairway and then have a good look at birdie. For my ball to, someone left the rake at the top of the bunker and it left an indentation and my ball stuck in that indentation.

“So like I said, just a lot of things that didn’t really go my way on the final day. I’m really happy with how the week was and super confident in my game.”

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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.