Maybe Sergio Garcia has it right: the golf gods are against him.
The USGA reported on Twitter Wednesday it believed Garcia was the first to strike one of Merion Golf Club's wicker baskets, placed atop their flagsticks on the East course, site of the 2013 U.S. Open.
Garcia reportedly had the unfortunate ricochet on the 115-yard, par-3 13th hole. A tournament volunteer replied he had seen Ryan Palmer do the same thing on the same hole earlier in the week.
There is no penalty or recourse for hitting the wicker baskets, but if a ball gets lodged in a basket during play, a player is entitled to drop the ball underneath the flagstick (but not in the hole).
A unique feature of the Ardmore, Pa., club, the baskets were thought to have first been used at the club in 1915. In four of the five Opens hosted there, the USGA has obliged the club in keeping the wicker baskets atop the flagsticks during tournament week.