Saturday at the 2017 Presidents Cup offered some more fun with the Rules of Golf.
On Friday, the International Team’s Anirban Lahiri was forced to pick his ball up mid-hole for an infraction that was occurred a hole earlier. On Saturday, it was Jordan Spieth who got pinched by a ridiculous rule when he stopped and tossed Louis Oosthuizen’s ball back to him following the South African’s aggressive eagle putt.
Jordan Spieth “exerted influence” on Louis Oosthuizen’s ball which had already rolled 20 feet past the hole. OK, makes sense. Sure.
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) September 30, 2017
A day after Anirban Lahiri was disqualified from a hole at the Presidents Cup for violating a little-known rule, Jordan Spieth found himself in a similar situation after violating an even more obscure rule.
All square in his afternoon fourball match paired with Patrick Reed, Spieth stopped Louis Oosthuizen’s golf ball as it rolled well past the cup on the 12th hole.
Here is the “incident” that got Jordan Spieth disqualified from the 12th hole.
Louis and Day move to 1-up in the match. pic.twitter.com/gMY72KHgQi
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) September 30, 2017
The rules official walking with the match informed Spieth that he’d violated Rule 1-2 by exerting influence on an opponent’s golf ball, which resulted in his disqualification from the hole and the eventual loss of the hole.
“I only stopped it because our fans were screaming for it to keep going,” Spieth pleaded with the official, Andy McFee.
After a lengthy discussion with Spieth, Reed and assistant U.S. captain Tiger Woods, the official maintained the American had violated the rule even though Oosthuizen’s eagle attempt had rolled past the hole and the International team (Jason Day) already had made birdie.
Oosthuizen and Day were also uncomfortable with the ruling and offered to concede the 13th hole to the Americans and square the match, but Spieth declined the offer.
“There was a lot of really goodwill and good sportsmanship in there. It’s a sh—y rule,” said International captain Nick Price. “It really is. A shame. I felt so bad for Jordan. We all did, because he didn’t do it with any intent or any malice.”
Spieth and Reed rallied to win the match, 2 and 1, with birdies at Nos. 16 and 17.
What may go unseen in the chaos was McFee’s brushing off of assistant captain Tiger Woods. Pleading a case on his player’s behalf, McFee tells Tiger, “This is just between me and Spieth,” without so much as eye contact with Woods.
He said WHAAAAAAAT to 🐅?
— Skratch (@Skratch) September 30, 2017
Despite the confusion and hole disqualification, the U.S. team not only held onto the large lead they brought into Saturday, they built upon it making Sunday’s singles matches almost a foregone conclusion. The Americans lead the Internationals 14.5 to 3.5 and need only one more point to win the Presidents Cup.
Here are the highlights from Saturday at Liberty National.
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