Jordan Spieth claimed his first Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale on Sunday, but he had to climb a mountain to get there, literally.
Tied for the lead on the difficult par-4 13th, Spieth hit one of the worst drives we’ve ever seen from him, missing the fairway by close to 100 yards right. His ball drilled a spectator and came to rest in what he deemed as an unplayable lie on the second highest and steepest dune on the golf course.
After moving the gallery, Spieth assessed his options of where to drop. Amongst the chaos, weather and major pressure, the 23-year-old had the presence of mind to ask if Royal Birkdale’s driving range, where the tour equipment trucks and vans remained parked from their early-week position, was considered out of bounds.
— The Open (@TheOpen) July 23, 2017
“I just asked the question, is the driving range out of bounds,” Spieth said. “And I got the answer, no. I thought, ‘Well, then, that’s a much better location for me to hit the next shot because I can get it much closer to the green and it saves me almost a full stroke from going back to the tee.’”
Spieth then worked with a rules official to determine the proper line in which he would go back and drop, which also conveniently happened to be in between the trucks. From there, he knew he would then be granted “TIO” relief (temporary immovable obstruction), which meant he’d be able to play from the driving range as he originally intended.
Once he received the approval from the head official on the scene, they agreed on a spot to drop on the driving range turf that while it was a considerable distance from the hole, the lie was night and day compared to what he originally would have had. Sometimes it helps to know the rules.
Roughly 20 minutes later, Spieth played his third shot short of the green, then got it up and down for the improbable bogey five. The rest is major championship history.
Here’s how the drama unraveled in real time.
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