Korn Ferry Tour leader was one swing away from DQ due to one-ball rule
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Ryan McCormick accidentally began Round 2 with older model of Titleist Pro V1, without a replacement
Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin
GLENVIEW, Ill. – Ever the grinder, Ryan McCormick practiced putting in his hotel room Friday morning, leaving no stone unturned in his quest to follow an opening-round 60 at the NV5 Invitational presented by Old National Bank.
There was one problem: He practiced with a 2019 model of the Titleist Pro V1, which he put into his golf bag, then randomly selected it for play Friday afternoon at The Glen Club (a one-in-nine chance, he estimated). All his other golf balls were of the 2023 variety.
It meant McCormick had to complete his second round with only the 2019 model, leading to a high-wire act that involved the help of a fellow pro, a rules official and some fortuitous timing.
McCormick navigated rough seas to the tune of a second-round 69, and he shares the lead into the weekend outside Chicago as he seeks his first Korn Ferry Tour title.
Ryan McCormick was one swing away from DQ due to One Ball Rule at NV5
All’s well that ends well, as they say. It just seemed a bit dicey mid-round.
“Honestly, just glad to be playing this weekend,” McCormick said. “My caddie, he was fishing for balls out on 13 before we knew we had more. He was taking the rake on 13, fishing for balls out of the water, hoping that we got the same ball. That is where we were at during the round.”
It was an unconventional scene, but the New Jersey native handled it with aplomb – fitting on a day where Jersey Jerry of Barstool Sports fame caddied nine holes for Quade Cummins, who proceeded to survive the 7-under cut line at The Glen Club.
The drama began earlier in the day, as McCormick casually putted around his room with the 2019 Titleist Pro V1, not thinking anything of the matter. He teed off with the ball Friday afternoon, opening with a par on No. 10, before realizing on 11 green that he was playing an older version of the ball – the arrows were slightly different, which caught his eye. He instantly knew.
Then the fight-or-flight response kicked in. McCormick knew the One Ball Rule – Model Local Rule G-4, largely implemented across PGA TOUR-sanctioned competition – and that he couldn’t use the other balls in his bag. It meant that if he lost that sole golf ball, he had no option to continue playing within the rules. Before he could fully assess a backup plan, his tee shot on No. 12 found the fescue.
“It was, like, insane,” McCormick said. “I’m honestly thinking DQ’d. Like, if I don’t find the ball, I’m going home.”
McCormick and Furr share one-shot lead after Friday at NV5 Invitational
McCormick called for a ruling and explained the situation. The proverbial bat signal was sent across the property, and fellow pro Trace Crowe had a few to spare; tournament administration manager Darron Stiles had one as well. These balls were sent back to McCormick, and he was in the clear.
“I was on the range warming up, and (Duncan) was walking on the range asking if anyone had the 2019, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ve got some,’” Crowe said. “I guess I’m one of the few out here that haven’t switched to the new one yet.”
McCormick was eternally appreciative.
“I owe them whatever they want,” McCormick said. It was on my mind for a solid hour to start the day … I was going to have my caddie go back to the hotel, see if I could find one. Basically like fire him, hire somebody, have him come back … we went through the whole thing. The only shot I was worried about was 18, really (a par 5 with water fronting the green). I would have just laid up left.
“It’s the most rattled I’ve ever been in my career … I was like, literally, if I lose this golf ball, my tournament was over. Like, I can’t play, I have no more golf balls. Insane.”
The irony of the situation? McCormick went the entire round without losing a single golf ball.
Kevin Prise is an associate editor for PGATOUR.COM. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.