Luke Donald owned up to making an uncharacteristically sloppy error when he grazed the sand with his wedge before hitting a shot from a bunker during Thursday’s opening round of the Masters. There was a twist to the two-shot penalty he incurred, however, when it turned out that an Augusta National patron ratted out the former world No. 1, according to Jay Busbee.
Got a 2 shot penalty on the 9th today. Left my bunker shot in the bunker and touched the sand before my next shot. Pretty dumb mistake— Luke Donald (@LukeDonald) April 10, 2014
I can accept the odd poor shot but making a mistake like that is pretty frustrating and so unlike me.....— Luke Donald (@LukeDonald) April 10, 2014
Oh well, nothing I can do about it now, brush it off and try and make a bunch of birdies tomorrow.— Luke Donald (@LukeDonald) April 10, 2014
Rule 13-4 is simple and explicit -- you get docked two strokes for grounding a club in a hazard, and Donald did just that with his wedge before playing the shot on the par-four ninth. He initially wrote down a six for the hole but after officials informed him of the breach, he had to take an eight.
Fortunately for Donald, who finished the first round with a 7-over 79, rules officials told the player about his infraction before he signed an incorrect scorecard, which would have resulted in his disqualification (Tiger Woods’ 15th hole flagstick infraction last year notwithstanding).
Donald acknowledged his brain cramp, but the extra element of an outside force snitching on him remains a sore spot for golf watchers who abhor those outside the game having an impact on the outcome of any golfer’s score or the tournament as a whole.
In a tie for 84th, 11 strokes behind 18-hole leader Bill Hass entering Friday's second round, Donald's chances of making it to the weekend appear slim.