Even Masters champions make mistakes like normal golfers. Zach Johnson did on Friday at the 2019 Masters what so many of us weekend warriors do every once in a while.
Johnson was preparing to hit his tee shot on the par-5 13th hole in his second round. His ball was teed up on the right side of the tee box, and he had his driver laying just inside of the ball on the tee so he could take his customary pre-shot practice swing. Then Johnson took his practice swing, and he accidentally hit the ball. The ball caromed off the Augusta National tee marker and went ahead just a few yards.
Wow! Zach Johnson is all of us… pic.twitter.com/BvVWA1wBvU
— Fantasy Golf Podcast (@fantasygolfpod) April 12, 2019
Under the Rules of Golf, a ball is not considered to be in play when it’s sitting on the teeing ground before the first shot of a hole. That means when a player accidentally hits the ball with a clear practice swing, there is no stroke. The player can tee the ball back up again and hit it without penalty.
However, if a player is hitting a ball that’s in play on a hole and accidentally hits it with a practice stroke, then that stroke doesn’t count, but a player incurs a one-shot penalty. Then the player must place the ball back where it was and play the shot as intended.
Johnson teed up his ball again and hit it down the hole without issue.
Fortunately, Johnson’s playing partners didn’t do what so many hacky golfers do when this happens. Neither of them yelled, “One!” at Johnson.