One month after rescinding a penalty and clarifying the enforcement of the rule that prohibits caddies from standing behind their player as they prepare to hit shots at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the PGA Tour went the other way at this week’s Honda Classic and applied a 2-stroke penalty to PGA Tour pro Adam Schenk a day after the infraction occurred.
Playing the difficult par-3 17th hole, Schenk found the back bunker. While the noise of the nearby party pavilion made it difficult to hear one another, Schenk’s caddie, Mark Carens, squatted behind him and talked through the shot.
Given the difficult stance the shot required, Schenk and Carens had violated the letter of Rule 10.2(b), which prohibits caddies from standing behind their player as they prepare to hit a shot.
— Randall Mell (@RandallMellGC) March 2, 2019
“The intention was never to cheat,” Schenk said, according to GolfChannel.com’s Randall Mell. “So, we were just talking about chunking it in front of us, or leaving it in the rough, or the bunker, so that’s what we were talking about.”
— Mike McAllister (@PGATOUR_mikemc) March 2, 2019
“I feel terrible,” Carens said. “It’s a caddie’s worst nightmare. It was just a really tough shot. We were just talking about where to land it, to have the best chance to make four.
“Where I was standing was really the only place I could, besides standing the bunker. It was really the only place I could talk with the people yelling.”
The penalty adjusted Schenk’s score on Friday from a 1-under par round of 69 to a 1-over par round of 71 and took him from two shots back of the 36-hole lead to four shots behind.
“I was upset,” Schenk said. “I felt like I was polite. But I was just asking questions, and after a couple questions I was just like, I’m just going to get a two-shot penalty, so I might as well just go warm up. I just tried to put it out of my mind.”
— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) March 2, 2019
“The penalty occurred as a result of Adam’s caddie standing behind him once he took his stance, but not taking any action subsequently that would absolve him of penalty, for example backing out of his stance,” the PGA Tour said in a statement.
Schenk would go on to shoot a 2-under par 68 on Saturday to return him to 4-under par for the tournament and leave him three shots back of 54-hole leader Wyndham Clark heading into the final round.