Fan Steals Tiger Woods' Golf Ball
By mustang6560 on 5/4/12
A weird thing happened earlier today during Tiger Woods' second round.

On the par-5 5th hole, Tiger sent his tee shot left into the gallery, which is not the weird part. The weird part is when he arrived to the location of where he thought his ball was, it was not there.
“Nobody saw it but there were a lot of people around,” PGA Tour vice president for rules and competition Mark Russell said. “People said they saw the ball bounce and go in that area and when people got around it, then it was gone.”

Russell made the ruling based on the account of one “older gentleman,” specifically, who said he saw the ball land and bounce. Russell later asked the entire gallery if anyone else had information about what happened.
If I have my Rules of Golf correct (bkuehn1952, please feel free to chime in), since there were enough spectators who were virtually certain that they saw the ball hit the ground, Rule 18-1 By Outside Agent was applied. And since the ball was not found, Decision 18-1/5 Ball Stolen by Outside Agency from Unknown Spot was applied as well, so Tiger was granted a free drop. The most likely scenario is someone in the gallery purposefully accidentally (I'll give the alleged thief the benefit of the doubt) picked up the golf ball.

Tiger is currently one-stroke behind the cut line at even-par, so the favorable ruling on the fifth hole may prove to be irrelevant. However, the afternoon is still young so we'll have to wait and see. I wouldn't be surprised to see the cut line magically extended to include the players who are even.

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Image via Flickr, Keith Allison

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[ comments ]
bkuehn1952 says:
Well done, Mustang. I think even @Rulesman would be impressed. Or should I say "virtually certain" @Rulesman would be impressed? We will make a Rules Snob out of you yet. ;)
mjaber says:
All those people saw it bounce, but nobody saw who picked it up? Something seems odd about that.
cvargo says:
It'll be on ebay on monday
Duke of Hazards says:
this happens to me a lot. there's a cadre of Outside Agents (I call em 'ball bandits') at the courses I play, laying in wait just beyond the trees on the far edges of the fairway, just waiting to snatch my ball up before I get there. thank god for 18-1, otherwise my scores would stink. oh wait... :(
DoubleDingo says:
There are endangered Kit Foxes here and they have made many dens at one of the local Country Clubs. Sometimes you hit a decent drive which happens be at the yardage near a den and you see your ball is gone and in the mouth of the little dog. So you drop one and it tries to snatch up that ball too. So you have to toss one away so it grabs that one and then you can hit the dropped ball. Not sure if they think golf balls are eggs, or if they just like stealing them to chew on.
sv677 says:
If it was anyone else it would have been a lost ball (remember Firestone a few years ago; a ball hit over the clubhouse into the parking lot was miraculously NOT out of bounds).
legitimatebeef says:
There are people who simply cannot resist putting their grubby hands on everything. Like the apes in Kubrick's "Space Odyssey", they can't believe something is real unless they can touch it. This actually motivated me to improve my game, I got tired of hitting out of play, into adjacent fairways etc and having other people molest my ball. But there are always ppl who need to touch. On a recent hole I literally split the fairway, that didn't stop a guy in my group from driving up to the ball ahead of me and picking it up to examine it. People are grubby, they just have to touch.
RoyZ says:
I think get a free ride on this most of the time. I have trouble with depth perception beyond about 200 yards and also being able to see the ball as it falls through the horizon line due to lighting and contrast. This week, I was playing the round without the benefit of three other pairs of eyes. I could not locate the ball on the ground four times and had to take penalties. Had I been playing in a pro event, there would have been spotters, officials, caddies, and, of course, the gallery, to help me locate the ball.
bkuehn1952 says:
I am with beef on this. I hate people driving their cart up to my ball and picking it up or "spinning it" to see if it is theirs. Inevitably the guy who picks it up drops it and when I arrive at the ball it is sitting down or in a depression. Thanks butt head. Same with the "spinners". Why don't you twist my ball into the turf for me; the game is not hard enough.
Eric Harris says:
I was in the gallery at Quail Hollow when Tiger duck hooked his shot from the fairway into to woods. No one picked up his ball. It was a severe duck hook that was 50 yards short of the green, and entered the woods behind the scoreboard. It was a "lost ball" We waited for close to 20 minutes and then a miracle ball appeared greenside for his free drop. What a joke. He made par on the hole when he actually should have re-hit from the fairway. NO one picked up his ball. It is still laying in the underbrush in the woods behind the scoreboard. He got a big break and still missed the cut.
C-4 says:
What are you hitting Tiger....this is a TOP Flight XL
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