Mark Hensby’s second PGA TOUR event in three and a half years, the Palmetto Championship at Congaree, went OK through eight holes in Round 1 until he noticed something crooked on his golf ball. It was a little dot on his Titleist ProV1 that he had not seen before.
After rebounding from an early triple bogey with birdies on each of the top nine par-3s, he had just made a par on the eighth hole and was 2 over when he noticed the discrepancy.
“I asked my caddy, ‘Hey, what’s this dot on the ball?’ I have never noticed this before; did they do anything with the new pro V1? ‘”Told Hensby PGATOUR.COM. “And he did not know, so I asked my playing partners, and they were like, ̵
The 49-year-old Australian, who before the February Puerto Rico Open had not played since the Sanderson Farms Championship in 2017, summoned senior tournament referee Mike Peterson and was assessed a two-stroke penalty for each hole he used the ball under Model Local Rule G-4 – sometimes known as One Ball Rule.
Hensby had unknowingly lost the ball in play after hitting his third shot into the water at the fourth hole, meaning his bogey-birdie-pair-birdie-pair-run became a triple bogey-bogey-double bogey-bogey-double bogey annihilation, pushed him to 12 over. Despite being rattled by the news, he shot a respectable 1-over 36 on his back, leaving him with a 13-over 84.
While he was not aware at the time, Hensby would later find out that the ball in question belonged to Pat Perez and had been accidentally switched while the two warmed up on the green.
“Somehow I took one of Pat’s balls and he ended up with one of mine,” he said. “I only found out because Titleist wanted to get to the bottom of it. I thought they had a wrong ball in the sleeve that I had.
“If you look at both spheres, it’s hard to tell the difference,” he continued. “It is not as if you are black and you are red. They are both black, but one has a small dot on it and one does not. Unfortunately, I did not notice it. I’m glad he did not use mine. ”
Before rule changes in 2019, this type of violation carried a maximum penalty of four strokes, but is now two strokes per stroke. Hole. The purpose of the rule is to prevent a player from using balls with different playing characteristics depending on the nature of the hole or shot.
Russell Henley unknowingly violated the One Ball rule in the second round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic in 2019. He realized the violation while signing autographs after the round, and after adding eight shots to his score, he went from being in contention to missing out. of the incision.
Similarly, Hensby had no chance to play on to the weekend after the offense.
“For Mark to call it himself, it talks a lot about him and the integrity of the game,” said PGA TOUR Senior Tournament Director Ken Tackett.
The 2004 John Deere Classic winner was a late call from the alternative list.
“I only got in the field on Tuesday,” Hensby said, “and I had been driving a truck moving from Scottsdale to San Antonio for 14 hours in a row on Sunday, so I was a little stiff. I flew in Wednesday night, had to COVID test before my start time and there was a chance if the results were delayed I would play as a single at the back of the pack but luckily they came through.
“I actually played pretty decently,” he added. “I did not get the very first start, but I birded the par 3s during this stretch and made some good par. I was just 2 over at the time and felt pretty good with my rebound. But after I got the penalty, it was obviously tough from that point on, and it was a shame because I knew my tournament was over. ”
Hensby turns 50 on June 29 and as such has sought to sharpen his game for the PGA TOUR Champions, where he hopes to play alongside other Australians of his generation such as Rod Pampling, John Senden, Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby. Hensby has qualified for the Senior US Open at Omaha Country Club, on 7-11. July.
“I’m working hard to get my game back on track,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the Senior US Open and Senior British Open and hopefully get status on the PGA TOUR Champions so I can get more regular playing time again.”
Additional reporting from Cameron Morfit in Congaree.