Henley misses Mayakoba cut after One Ball Rule infraction
Was penalized eight shots after bringing breach to the attention of Rules officials
November 16, 2019
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
- Russell Henley had made the cut in each of his last eight starts. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico – Things were looking good after Russell Henley shot what appeared to be a 2-under 69 in the second round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic. At 7 under overall, he was on the first page of the leaderboard.
And then he wasn’t. While sorting through his bag in search of golf balls to sign and give away after signing his card, Henley realized he had inadvertently used a different type of Titleist Pro V1x during the round, violating the PGA TOUR’s One Ball Rule.
“It was a small dash, a different way it was marked that would have been easy to overlook,” said TOUR Rules Official Brad Fabel. “He came to us and said he didn’t know how it had gotten in his bag.”
The eight Rules of Golf officials on site conferred for about an hour and a half and even brought in the USGA to weigh in on the matter.
“We researched it pretty thoroughly,” Fabel said.
There was no question, Henley said, that he’d used the ball. He gives balls he’s put into play to his caddie to mark accordingly, and the Pro V1x in question was marked as such. That left two questions: Where had this single, differently marked ball come from (just to satisfy his curiosity) and for how many holes had he used it, i.e. how many penalty strokes would he take?
Where it came from would have to wait, but ultimately, Henley decided he’d used it on holes 9, 10, 11 and 12, costing himself two shots per hole. He had made par on all four holes, but now four straight double bogeys would turn his 69 into a 77, leaving him outside the cut line.
The mix-up ends Henley’s made cuts streak at eight, including the last four starts of last season and the first four of this season. He took the news well.
“He was great,” Fabel said. “I’ve got a ton of respect for that gentleman.”
Here is the USGA’s explanation:
"When changing balls, the player is permitted to substitute a ball of another brand or type unless the Committee has adopted the One Ball Condition of Competition (see Appendix I; Part C; Section 1c). This optional condition (usually referred to as ‘The One Ball Rule’) is generally adopted only in events that are limited to professional golfers or highly-skilled amateur golfers. Generally, this condition of competition is not adopted in club-level competitions."