Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Sports Media Group
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
« “It’s a par 4!” | Main | Obama-Boehner Golf Summit To Occur On U.S. Open Saturday! »

TGC Rebroadcast Of Questionable Schwartzel Drop: 9:10 ET

I believe it all starts 40 minutes into the broadcast, which re-airs at 8:30 ET, 5:30 PT, and carries on for several minutes after Brendle says he's "not really entitled to relief."

The views on Twitter were mixed, but Sir Nick and Peter Oosterhuis sounded emphatic about the lack of a need for relief while rules official Jon Brendle did his best to question Schwartzel, but the Masters Champion and proud animal killer insisted he feared he might hit the sprinkler head, which is a big difference than it physically interfering.

Thanks to the drop, he went from an awful lie to a beauty in the fairway.

As you can see from the screen capture, to hit the sprinkler he'd have to take a line of play right of the green, which, from a hook lie was possible. You can also see how far down his ball was sitting. And when he took his drop he never hesitated to use the club length and head straight for the fairway lie. Might a sportsman have at least dropped in the intermediate cut after an official made it quite clear he wasn't really buying your claim?

 As Faldo noted after Schwartzel then hit the green in two shots instead of a likely layup from the lousy lie, "it's all in the players' conscience."

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (54)

Why does he get to drop in the fairway?
06.3.2011 | Unregistered CommenterA3golfer
So once a drop is granted, we should expect Charl to measure the club length with his lob wedge and drop it further back in the intermediate cut? That sort of integrity was lost long ago when Langer used his broomstick to drop back into the fairway.

This one is on Brendle for allowing it; he could have said no. With Phil in the group, I am surprised he wasn't on the scene to give his opinion.
06.3.2011 | Unregistered CommenterNRH
Arguing for a drop was chicken****.

Why didn't the official hear him out, then say "play away" and walk briskly away?

That is what an official (Bonallack?) did years ago when Seve wanted a very questionable drop at Augusta.
06.3.2011 | Unregistered Commenterd.b.cooper
I thought it would have been a nice concession to eliminate any chatter that he was trying to get out of a bad lie! Not that I expect him to be much of a thinker.
06.3.2011 | Registered CommenterGeoff
Why are there 2 sprinkler heads so close together?
06.3.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBenkel
Where's Grant Spaeth when you really need him- he would have chucked Charls into the hazard
06.3.2011 | Unregistered Commenterjjshaka
I am of two minds on this one - chickenshit and horseshit.
06.3.2011 | Unregistered CommenterTighthead
Center-line irrigation. No controversy.
06.3.2011 | Unregistered Commenterellis
He obviously has more concern for the checkbook than the rulebook.
06.3.2011 | Unregistered Commentersports medic
Gary Player's South African, too, isn't he?
06.3.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAK47
Video is down already. After the Tiger boulder, how does this surprise anyone? Seriously? I've ceased being outraged by these rulings. They always get them.
06.3.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJordan
I agree with Jordan. It seems like, at least as seen on TV, that the officials generally cave to the player. And some seem to be stretching credulity. The Ryder Cup before last, I remember Sergio a trying to convince Anthony Kim and the official of a pretty ridiculous scenario. Kim just gave up, saying "Whatever".
06.3.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn R
I'm all for players arguing and using the rules to their advantage, it's part of any game. My problem with this is that Charl was given a ruling taht in order to get a drop the sprinkler would have to physically impede his swing, Charl than claimed that it would, even though to most naked eyes, it seemed pretty clear it wouldn't, that to me is stretching the boundaries towards cheating.
06.3.2011 | Unregistered Commenterelf
I'm only going on the still images that Geoff posted, and I'm no rules guru, but it seems Charl's ball is quite close to two sprinkler heads, which he is a reasonable chance of striking while in the act of playing his shot. And he's not in a hazard.

Can someone stipulate why he should not get relief?

Can someone also cite which rule suggests he must drop in the rough,
rather than taking full relief, within one club length, leaving the ball no closer to the hole?
06.3.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatthewM
Unless I was on the spot I
would find it impossible to decide if he should get relief or not.TV is one dimensional and camera angles are deceptive.
Once relief is granted he can measure one club length in any direction(no nearer the hole) and there is nothing to stop him dropping from rough to fairway.Sometimes a drop will worsen the players situation and you have to take that one on the chin-so this time he got lucky.No problem with that.
Problem here is that 95% posters only focus on the fortunate ones.
06.3.2011 | Unregistered Commenterchico
@ chico, good points. And you too MatthewM. Charl seems like a pretty straight up guy that wouldn't do anything outside the rules.

Did anyone hear the story from last week where they were playing LC&P and the guy got 3-club lengths of relief that took him from the 1st cut with and obstructed shot to the fairway with no obstruction at all?

He takes his first drop from the 1st cut and intentionally drops onto a sprinkler head. Then he's entitled to relief from the sprinkler head which gets him another club length. THEN he gets to take LC&P relief from that lie which gets him another club length.

Voila, clear shot! Rules official was standing right there approving the whole proceeding. Know the rules and it can help you!
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Why is there rough there anyway? If you are good enough to drive that close to the creek you should have the prefect angle - or the ball should run unimpeded into the water.
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike Clayton
US Open preparation Clayts. They're trying to identify the best player. :)
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatthewM
Rules are there to help as much as hurt.
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRM
Caught the clip this morning on the Golf Channel.
Its no wonder the PGA pulled the video - The rules official "Oprah speak" was embarrassing..

i can"t recall another year when we have had this spate of controversial rulings.

"Thanks to the drop, he went from an awful lie to a beauty in the fairway."
The drop wasn't really that great as it could have been as the ball rolled back after the drop, but regardless he certainlty didn't have that same side hill lie which I think was the real non-issue.
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRob
Go to the 6 minute mark or there abouts on Golf Channel clip - Golf Central
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRob
Didn't Steve Stricker take the exact same relief on the 9th hole yesterday? He moved from a bad lie in the rough to a fairway lie, and ended up with a birdie. Seems a little disingenuous to hammer Schwartzel without mentioning Stricker's situation.
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterWMB
@WMB -

Wasn't Stricker standing on the sprinkler head? TGC on the late night replay had it just for a second or two that I saw. If Charl had been standing on a sprinkler or had the ball lying an inch or two away from the sprinkler, no one would be questioning anything about his drop, and it would be advantageous for him that he could drop in a fairway (like Stricker). As mentioned byRM, the rules can help you or hurt you. What was questionable was whether he should have gotten a drop in the first place - whether the sprinkler heads would have actually physically interfered with his swing. IMO, he should not have gotten a drop but I wasn't there on the scene. Even more importantly long-term, it may do a little more harm to his reputation than the shot may have been worth. This is certainly nothing like Monty's replacement of the ball in Indonesia years ago, however.... But, if you are of a mind to always give the player the benefit and believe him/her, then Michelle Wie should not have been penalized for grounding her club in a hazard a year or two ago when she said she was falling (despite video evidence to the contrary). The inconsistency is the problem, but in a game played by humans and refereed by humans, there won't always be perfect outcomes.
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRickABQ
To be clear, I am not claiming that Stricker did anything wrong. But it was very similar to Schwartzel's situation, and I think that the reporting on Schwartzel should include Stricker's relief to show context.
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterWMB
Ah, this is what Sir Nick was prattling on about when I turned on the rerun...

@dbc: It was Sir Michael indeed. And Seve then just hit it. Meekly.

So, just a hypothetical here. Charl leaves the ball in place and breaks his wrist when he hits an invisible underground appurtenance of the irrigation system. Probably unlikely, but what would be the consensus then?

That requirement to "drop (place) in the original condition of the lie" is a rule for the scrambles we play twice a year to benefit the local charity. It has nothing to do with the Rules of Golf.

Chico makes the essential point. I'm going to get flamed here, but the infamous Kenny Perry incident comes to mind. In that case, from one and only one angle behind the ball it was impossible to determine how close to his ball the grass was apparently patted down. It's called the phase problem in my field. That seems not to be the case here, but some of this sounds like Peggy Noonan: It would be irresponsible not to speculate. Yeah, I know; that is rich coming from me. ;-) Flame-retardant suit to be retrieved from the safety closet in 3, 2, 1...
In the post round interview he said something about the fact that the ball was lying down in the grass. Therefore he was going to be required to swing down and go after it. Not knowing where the true edge of the sprinkler was underground, it could be reasonably assumed he was hoping to avoid a chance at an injury.
Now maybe he thought up that scenario for the benefit of the interview. It is for him to decide on the need for a drop as he has to live with himself.
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLynn S.
You could then argue that anywhere in the rough, you must swing down to go after it and then hit a tree root, thus possibly injuring yourself, thus getting relief. The rules official did a terrible job of protecting the field. There is no way he would hit one of those sprinklers with his swing!
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
Stricker was standing on a sprinkler head, not even close to link the two. Schwartzel's drop was very dubious - taken in the spirit of his compatriot, a rules skirter who patted down more bad lies with woods (only to then hit irons) in his career than Kenny Perry's had hot breakfasts. But, as noted above, it's the very rare tour rules official who doesn't back down and grant the drop. Unless you're a Dutch golfer no one in the US has heard of, and then you get a bum ruling and get DQ'ed.
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAK47

All this is why TV has no place in golf rulings. And why only the players, and rules official should have the''power''.

I do not see where Charl was doing anything wrong, as a sharply cut swing, or, for that matter, the ball being so far above his stance, or even a poorly mishit shot--could result in the clubhead hitting the fixture.
06.4.2011 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
It will interesting to see if those sprinkler heads are still there next year
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterB.I.G
Brad-you don't know the rules!The sprinkler is an obstruction(man made) the tree root is not-no relief for tree roots in my rule book!
AK47-I have denied as many drops as I've given-and I would think that most refs have.Denied relief just doesn't make it on to the tv as often.
The "old fashioned" refs attitude of-no drop,just get on with it doesn't wash anymore either.The players know they don't have to stand for that if they think they are right and will quite rightly argue their case.
There is no such rule as 'spirit of the game'!
You can bet your bottom dollar that if Sir Michael denied relief and Seve accepted it then he knew Bonallack was right.!
06.4.2011 | Unregistered Commenterchico
Nobody with a clear conscience would take relief from there, UNLESS they were playing for money. There's your bifurcation of the rules, and the spirit.Those heads are at least an inch under the mat. If these guys are so precise, the officials should make them prove it.

The last pro to show the spirit of the sport, in battle? Jack with The Concession? DLIII when he didn't even consider relief from a sprinkler it looked like he was standing on? Gallagher in the parking lot?
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Clayman
Chico, as soon as I hit enter I realized my mistake! My bad, of course you don't get a drop from roots. It was too early and the caffeine hadn't kicked in
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
DIdn't take the time to read everything here, but I assume someone pointed out how the Golf Gods have always said "the rules are there to protect you."
In those rare instances that they actually do, shouldn't you take advantage of them?
Really, there's never been anything fair about stroke AND distance penalties, so take your pound of flesh when you can.
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterWillie

Your last name wouldn't happen to be Watson, would it?
06.4.2011 | Unregistered Commenterd.b.cooper
The reason the RO left it up to Charl to decide is that only Charl could know what shot he was going to hit. With the ball sitting down he may have have to hit down after the ball and take a substantial divot. The follow through from the club taking a deep divot could easily strike the obstruction. In addition the actual swing path of the club during a full swing is usually more extended than any slow motion simulated swing.

Relief in this situation is a judgement call, in this case the players judgement, we have all seen 9 inch divots taken by aggressive swings, he could easily have hit the obstruction on his follow through and injured his wrist. Not a problem for him to take relief in this situation.
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterNigel
"It's all in the players' conscience."

If it wasn't when he hit the shot, it is now.
06.4.2011 | Unregistered Commenterhighside
Let me post another hypothetical, as Ky did upstairs regarding possible injury.

Let's say Charl was denied relief by the official and was told to play on with the ball near the sprinkler. If Charl was truly worried about possible injury, wouldn't he then have to take an unplayable lie in order to protect himself from the potential risk of severe injury, and move the ball two clubs away? Does anyone here think Charl would have taken an unplayable if he had been denied relief, or would he have gone ahead and hit the ball just as it was? Maybe he would have laid up, maybe he would have gone for it - but I bet he would have hit a shot. Obviously, I don't know that for certain, but that is basically the question I would have asked him in a press conference - "If denied relief, were you going to take a penalty drop for an unplayable as you were concerned about injury?" Maybe he was, and that is why he argued so much.
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRickABQ
He could have decided to chip out to the fairway (not take an unplayable) as he was worried about hittingvthe sprinkler - it is a reasonable shot to lay up to any distance which he would like into the green. This sideways chip would mean he is now standing on the sprinkler. Nothing in the Rules to say you have to choose to play towards the hole every time. Now that would really have got some attention here - but again if the RO judged his reasoning to be acceptable he could have got the drop that way.
06.4.2011 | Unregistered CommenterNigel

He could have played a second ball, and sorted it out post round......( one ball with an''unplayable'' move...and a second ball with the relief he requested.)

I can see how he EASILY could have hit one of the obstuctions.

Everyone have a good weekend. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers... I'm not trying to be dramatic, but aqt one of my Dr appointments on Friday ( I had 3) I was told that my ''actions'' are what kept me alive 2 hospital stays ago. I specificaly asked, " Do you mean I was going to die?" ....and to my shaken spirit....i was told ''Yes''.

I have never had a professioal medicl peson say that to me, and I can tel you, I am still very upset.

So thank you all again, and I will get well, asd i am tired of feeling obliged to let yall know how it's going.

I ''may have some major good news within 2 weeks. God, I pray.
06.4.2011 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.