PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Keegan Bradley got screwed, plain and simple.
Bradley played one of the best rounds of the day in the tough weather conditions on Saturday and shot 71, except 71 should have been a 69.
He was penalized two strokes when he marked his ball but left the ball on the green, it moved and he did not replace it. One of the many ridiculous rules of golf that should be changed.
Facing a 70-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole, Bradley scored his ball. A gust of wind moved the ball but not the marker. After it came to rest, Bradley retrieved the ball and placed it in front of its home mark.
But according to a provision in Rule 13.1 D, Bradley was supposed to play from the ball’s new location after the gust of wind cost him the two-stroke penalty, and he putt three times and ended up with a double bogey seven.
“I guarantee most of the entire court thought the USGA changed the rule to make it simpler – lay your piece down, that’s where your ball is,” Bradley said. “So put my coin down, the ball moved, a huge gust of wind I looked at the guys in my group and we all said, ‘Yeah, the coin fell first, it’s fine.’
“[I] didn’t think about it until [the rules official] came to talk to me at number 2. [I’m] proud of how i handled this because it was tough news, especially with tough holes ahead of me. ”
Bradley called the round “one of my best rounds of my life”.
“It’s as difficult as the golf you’re never going to play,” he said. “This is a course you want to play under no [adverse] conditions due to the force of the gunfire. And playing in that wind, playing like that, it was really, really a special round.
Usually on tough days like Saturday you hear players complaining about the course layout. Last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, for example, there were a lot of complaints about the tough layout at Bay Hill.
On Saturday, after a brutal day of rain and wind, players praised the PGA Tour for the fair way the course is set up.
“I will say this: All tours should consult with the PGA Tour on how to set up golf courses,” Chesson Hadley said. “They do an absolutely amazing job, and they did it today. I think the Tour did a great job setting it up.”
When asked if it was unfair, Rory McIlroy replied: “No it’s not, because it was so soft. It was good. The ball stayed. Very difficult conditions, but it was right.”
Sam Ryder said: “I think that’s fair enough. They’ve moved a few tees around, so that makes it a little more manageable.”
Cameron Young, the PGA Tour rookie from Scarborough who plays at Sleepy Hollow, will miss the cup in his first Players Championship after shooting 71-77 and going 4 over par. the second round.
Several players were asked what they thought a 10 handicap would have shot under Saturday’s conditions.
“They would be lucky to finish,” Kevin Kisner said. ”On the 17th you could be there all day.”
Ryder, who lives in the area and plays the course regularly, told No 17: “They could hit first on the green or they could go through their whole bag. A 10 handicapper is a good golfer, but if he doesn’t it was a flip wedge, I’d put my money on it being in the water before I was on the green to start.”