Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson hit from wrong tee at Hero World ChallengePenalized two strokes for accidentally using 17th tee
December 05, 2021
By Cameron Morfit , PGATOUR.COM
Spieth, Stenson receive penalty for teeing off wrong hole at Hero
NASSAU, Bahamas – Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson have each won the Hero World Challenge, but neither was in contention when they came to the tee at the par-5 ninth hole.
That was the silver lining after a bizarre Rules gaffe left Spieth with a triple bogey and Stenson with a double. Both said they’d never experienced anything like it.
Playing in the first group of the day, Spieth and Stenson unwittingly used the tee markers for the par-3 17th hole to hit their drives down the ninth, unaware that tournament officials had moved the 17th tee markers to where only the ninth tee markers had been all week.
“We kept our heads down off the finishing out on hole No. 8,” Stenson said, “and walked to the ninth tee box that we did on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and put the ball down and hit some beautiful tee shots. Then when we went down to the hole, went down to the balls.”A look at how close the ninth and 17th tee boxes are at Albany Golf Club. (Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR)
Someone in the TV trucks caught the error and relayed the infraction to Chief Referee Stephen Cox, who hustled to catch up to the players before they’d hit their second shots.
“The Rules official said, ‘Did you hit off the right tee box?’” Stenson said. “And we're like, well, yeah, kind of – and then we looked back and saw that there was another one forward and left.”
Informed of their mistake, Spieth and Stenson returned to teeing ground, where they used the correct set of tee markers this time, the ones assigned to the ninth hole, and resumed the round.
Each took a two-shot penalty, and Stenson signed for a 72 to finish 19th, second from last, while Spieth shot 76 to finish 20th. It could have been worse. They would have been disqualified had they begun the 10th hole without going back to the correct tees to play the ninth.
Although they said they weren’t properly informed of the switch, they laughed about the mix-up.
“My question was if we could just finish 19th and 20th and leave after nine (holes),” Stenson said with a straight face, “but that wasn't an option, either.”
Added Spieth: “Yeah, he did. He asked them if we could just go to the airport and I said, ‘I'm down.’”
They were so befuddled on the ninth tee that Spieth initially tried to take the honor even though he didn’t have it. After his caddie, Michael Greller, informed him of his mistake, and Stenson went first, Spieth accidentally teed his ball too far forward and was told he needed to move back.
It was a moot point since they weren’t even at the right markers, but funny, in retrospect.
“Now you're really, you just spoiled the whole thing,” Stenson said. “Like look at these guys, they don't know who's going to hit. Once they figured out who's hitting, one guy's trying to tee up in front and then they both hit from the wrong tee box. It's like I guess we got what we deserved.
“Have a nice Christmas everyone,” he added, “and we'll see you in the new year.”Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson had some fun in their post-round interview on Sunday. (PGA TOUR)