Bizarre rules issue at the WGC – Dell Technologies Match Play: DeChambeau, Pieters and the sprinkler
03/24/2022 by Golf Post Editors
On Day 1 of the WGC – Dell Match Play, Bryson DeChambeau got relief at a sprinkler where Thomas Pieters had not received it moments earlier.
the beneficiary of a rules interpretation at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Returnee Bryson DeChambeau (Photo: Getty).
On Bryson DeChambeau’s return to the PGA Tour, a curious interpretation of the rules occurred at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, which in the end even forced head referee Gary Young to make a statement. On hole 13, Thomas Pieters hit his ball directly into a sprinkler head before DeChambeau hit the exact same spot a few rounds later. But according to the referees’ decision, one received penalty-free relief, the other did not.
Matchplay: Bad luck for Pieters, good fortune for DeChambeau
After an entertaining first round of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, a referee’s decision caused a lot of discussion afterwards. Thomas Pieters, who was competing against Tom Hoge in Round 1, hit his ball directly into a sprinkler on hole 13 at Austin Country Club. With officials stating that the ball touched the marked penalty line in the area of the sprinkler head, Pieters received no relief and lost the hole. In the end, however, the Belgian still managed to win against Tom Hoge, so the rules interpretation did not put him at a consequential disadvantage.
Later that day, Bryson DeChambeau managed to get his ball into the exact same sport. However, because the rules officials around PGA Tour head referee Gary Young had already decided to move the marker line because of the Pieters incident on hole 13 so that the sprinkler head was no longer in the danger zone by now, a happier situation resulted for DeChambeau. Although the line had not yet been officially moved, BDC was allowed to drop his ball without another penalty stroke. In the end this decision of the referees was enough for him to draw against Richard Bland.
Referee Statement on Rules Chaos at WGC – Dell Match Play
After the curious decision by the officials, PGA Tour head referee Gary Young explained his actions: “Obviously, in match play, each match is its own individual story. To me, two wrongs don’t make a right. So to make the correction before Bryson’s match got there was important when we heard about the original ruling. When the golf course was marked the line got a little bit closer. Obviously, there’s a lot of wind when you’re marking these golf courses. The line got a little too close to it. It’s the great part of the fact that this is match play and we can make those changes because each individual match you could change something like that. If it was a stroke-play event, we would had to keep it that way through the entire day until all competitors finish their round and then make the change. But because of match play, we did it in between.”
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