Saturday, during the 3rd round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship, Australian Cameron Smith unknowingly broke a rule and was penalized a posteriori of two penalty points for having played his ball from an improper place.
Cameron Smith, rule
Sunday, a few minutes before the departure of the leaders in the 4th and final round of the 1st tournament of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, the classification was revised and the name of Cameron Smith no longer appeared on the first page.
The reason ? Two penalty points imposed on the world number 2 for having played his ball from the wrong place after a drop at hole n°4 following a face-off sent to the penalty area to the left of the green. Thinking he had dropped according to the rules in force, the recent winner of The Open played his ball which partly rested on the red line painted by the officials and which delimits the penalty area.
Unfortunately for him, this is not allowed. Indeed, according to Rule 17, a dropped ball must be dropped in a relief area defined from a reference point and not come to rest in the penalty area. If so, it must be dropped a second time and then, if so again, it must be placed where it made contact with the relief area.
A subtlety that Cameron Smith obviously did not know and we understand better why players regularly call on referees for relatively innocuous situations. In addition to this information, it should be noted that the referees had, at first, estimated that it was not obvious that the ball touched the line.
A second viewing of this incident on the morning of the 4th round ended up deciding the head of the referees, Gary Young, to go and question Cameron Smith crusader at the clubhouse, an hour before his departure. The player acknowledged that his ball touched the line delimiting the penalty area and then very calmly accepted the sentence.
"The rules are the rules," the Australian reportedly replied. Cameron Smith is an Australian professional golfer who plays on the PGA Tour and is the current Open Champion. He has won six times on the PGA Tour, including the 2022 Players Championship and the 2022 Open Championship. He finished second in the 2020 Masters Tournament.