Golf’s Costliest Rules Mistakes

Stadler Chops Down TreeAfter Morgan Pressel’s heartbreaker of a rules violation last weekend, this here caveman got to thinkin’ – what other costly rules mistakes have been made over golfin’ history. With that in mind, I’m proud to present five of Golf’s Costliest Rules Mistakes accordin’ to

5) Morgan Pressel, 2012 – Sybase Match Play

Looks like Ms. Pressel’s gonna make it to this list after all. After makin’ par on the 12th hole of her semifinal match, Pressel looked like she was gonna go all the way to the top – she was 3-up on Azahara Munoz. Sadly, Pressel was penalized for takin’ an extra 39 seconds over the 30-second limit per shot. The result – Munoz was awarded the shot and would go on to win the tournament instead of Pressel.

4) Roberto de Vicenzo, 1968 Masters

De Vicenzo cost himself a chance at a playoff in the 1968 Masters when he signed an incorrect scorecard for a higher number. What made this mistake an even bigger heartbreaker was that it was his playin’ partner, Tommy Aaron, who had marked a 4 instead of a birdie 3 for de Vicenzo’s score on the 17th hole. Unfortunately, de Vicenzo ain’t the only golfer to be disqualified for such a blunder. As Caroline Inglis’ story shows, players of all ages are capable of such mistakes.

3) Byron Nelson, 1946 U.S. Open

On the 13th hole of the first round at Canterbury GC, a crowd gathered tightly around Byron Nelson’s ball. Unfortunately, in all of the confusion and claustrophobia, Nelson’s caddie inadvertently kicked the ball. As a result, Nelson incurred a one-stroke penalty. Had it not been for that misstep, Nelson would have won by one stroke.

2) Craig Stadler, 1987 Andy Williams Open

In the third-round of the 1987 event at Torrey Pines, Sadler placed a towel underneath him to avoid getting’ his pants wet while hittin’ a shot below a tree from his knees. What Stadler didn’t know was that there’s a rule (13-3/2 to be exact) that states doing this exact thing is a two-shot penalty. Eight years later, Torrey Pines decided to cut down that tree and even invited Stadler to participate.

1) Michelle Wie, 2005 Samsung World Championship

The 16-year-old phenom made her debut as a professional at the 2005 Samsung World Championship. Unfortunately, Wie was stripped of her fourth-place finish (and $53,126 check) after it was determined that she had taken a drop approximately a foot closer to the seventh hole after hittin’ a wayward shot into a bush during the third round. The illegal drop meant a two-shot penalty. Since it wasn’t added to the scorecard, Wie was disqualified.

Got an inklin’ to read even more golfin’ errors? Check out GolfDigest’s full list of costly rules mistakes here. Got a blunder of yer own that you’d like to share with the cave? Leave yer stories in the comment section!

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