Once is an accident. Twice is a … really weird coincidence?
Preparing to tee off on the rowdy 17th tee Friday at TPC Scottsdale, Zach Johnson backed off his shot and prepared to go through his pre-shot routine again. While casually holding his driver, he accidentally popped his ball off the tee. Johnson embarrassedly walked after his ball as it harmlessly trickled to the left side of the tee box.
“Uh-oh!” the broadcaster said during the telecast. “That was an accident, and now he’ll get to re-tee.”
Yep, Johnson knew the rule – and that he wouldn’t be penalized. He’s done this (at least) once before.
Most famously, he clipped his ball with a practice swing while on the 13th tee at Augusta National. His ball hit off the toe of his driver, ricocheted off the tee marker and bounced a few yards in front of him. He’s exonerated thanks to Rule 6.2b 5, which states that a player isn’t penalized if he accidentally strikes the ball when making a swing or preparing to make a stroke.
On Friday, Johnson recovered from his blunder to rip a drive short of the 17th green, pitch on and make birdie. He was safely inside the cut line at the WM Phoenix Open.