After moving-ball controversy, Wyndham Clark calls for simpler rules

PGA Tour pro Wyndham Clark walsk by granstands with caddie at 2024 Players Championship

Wyndham Clark spoke up about a recent rules controversy in a new interview.

Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Reigning U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark finished a distant second behind Scottie Scheffler two weeks ago at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. But he also featured in a rules controversy at Bay Hill that was among the most talked-about moments of the week.

Playing Bay Hill’s 18th hole during the third round, Clark’s drive finished in thick rough right of the fairway. Video showed him address the ball and forcefully place his club directly behind it, tamping down the grass and potentially causing the ball to move enough to draw a penalty. But Clark played on.

Rules officials reviewed the moment in the scoring tent following his round and then cleared Clark of any wrongdoing.

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Other observers were not so sure, and the moment was debated on TV and on the internet with some critics suggesting Clark should have been penalized.

In a new interview with Fox News Digital published on Thursday, Clark once again defended his actions at Bay Hill, rejecting any accusations of cheating.

“It is unfortunate, because I had no ill intent to try to cheat or improve my lie. I didn’t even know anything had happened until I got into the scoring tent, and that’s when they showed me the video,” Clark said in the interview. “You see the video, and you’re like, ‘Oh man, that doesn’t look great.'”

He went on to explain that despite what the video showed, his actions were in keeping with the spirit and letter of the Rules of Golf.

“I’ve never tried to cheat in the game of golf, and hopefully people don’t think of me that way,” he told Fox News Digital. “I just think the camera was zoomed in and made it look worse than it really was.”

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But Clark didn’t stop there. He also suggested the Rules of Golf are far too complicated for the average player, an argument that would likely find a lot of support among recreational golfers. He used the example of playing golf with his friends to highlight his point.

“There are some things where I’m like, Can we dumb it down on the rules and not make it so complicated and make it a little simpler and more user-friendly?” Clark said. “It’s second nature for [pro golfers], so I don’t think about [it] as much, but when I get into social golf with buddies, and they’re asking questions, they don’t understand, I’m like, ‘You’re right, it is really complicated and probably should be easier and simpler.'”

Clark first rose to fame last year with his win at the 2023 U.S. Open at Riviera, finishing one stroke ahead of Rory McIlroy. It was the second PGA Tour win of his career, with his first coming just two months earlier at the Wells Fargo Championship.

The 30-year-old American star added a third victory earlier this year at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he rode a third-round 60 to the 54-hole lead. When the final round was canceled due to weather, Clark was declared the champion.

He did not survive that week without an odd rules situation either. On the 16th hole during Round 3, Clark was saved from a horrible lie in long rough when a “burrowing animal hole” near his ball allowed him to take free relief.

He stayed in the forefront of the news at last week’s Players, suffering a devastating lipout on the 72nd hole that would have forced a playoff with Scottie Scheffler.

Kevin Cunningham

Kevin Cunningham Editor

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