Augusta patron rats out Luke Donald, who incurs 2-shot penalty for bunker violation

Harry How

Luke Donald was chagrined to learn he had grounded his wedge in a bunker before hitting a shot, which is a definite no-no, but we wonder if he knew a patron ratted him out.

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.

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.

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