PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — U.S. Open champion Justin Rose was penalized two shots on the 18th hole Saturday in The Players Championship when his ball moved ever so slightly as he prepared to hit a chip shot.
Rose went from 71 to 73, dropping him seven shots behind Martin Kaymer and Jordan Spieth going into the final round.
He saw something when he grounded his sand wedge behind the ball, quickly backing away. But the grass is uneven, and Rose didn’t think it moved. He watched replay on the video board and officials were convinced it did not move. Only a closer look revealed it moved a fraction of an inch.
Rose received one shot for causing the ball to move at address (Rule 18-2b) and another for not replacing it.
“It was a bitter pill to swallow and in the end, it is my own fault for trying to be my own rules official,” Rose said. “If the ball moves a hair, the ball moved. And I’m happy now. My conscience is clear. I’ll sleep better tonight knowing that eventually, the right decision was made.”
HIGH AND DRY: Saturday was a historic day at the par-3 17th hole at the TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium Course.
Only one ball was hit into the water surrounding the Island Green.
Appropriately, it was by Angel Cabrera, whose nickname in his home country of Argentina is “El Pato” – the duck.
Cabrera hit a semi-shank, with the ball veering sharply to the right of the left-front hole placement and going into the water in front of the bunker on the right.
Since the PGA Tour began tracking official counts of water balls at No. 17 in 2003, the lowest number of balls hit into the water in one round was three in the third round of the 2003 tournament. The lowest number of balls in the water since the tournament moved to May was four in the third round in 2009 and the third round in 2012.
The most number of water balls in any one round since 2003 was 50 in the first round of the 2007 tournament.
SCOTT RELEASES DETAILS: As young hearts continued to break Saturday at the news Australia’s Adam Scott got married, Scott said it’s harder to sink a putt to win the Masters Tournament than asking a woman to tie the knot.
“The putt definitely because I didn’t even have to ask,’’ Scott said. “We just decided over a conversation. We thought it was time, so we did it.’’
Scott’s wedding to Marie Kojzar took place the Thursday after the Masters, but word didn’t get out until this week.
The few people who attended had been sent invitations to a party and had no idea what they were to see.
“My parents did know, we swore them to secrecy,’’ Scott said. “We just wanted it to be a secret for the day and then we haven’t told anyone to keep it a secret since but I think people didn’t want to do the wrong thing by me. So, I’ve got them right where I want them.’’
Scott says there are no plans for a honeymoon.
“Our life is pretty much like a honeymoon all the time,’’ he said. “We’ll just keep going on.’’
SATURDAY VICTIMS: Because more than 78 players made the cut, there was a three-round cut at 2-over that claimed players such as Ernie Els, Rickie Fowler and Jonas Blixt.
The Tour began having a Saturday cut to get the Sunday field to a more manageable number for Sunday’s TV broadcasts. Players still get credit for a made cut.
Also missing the cut, and badly, was Jeff Overton, who shot 83 with 10 at the par-5 11th hole. He hit two shots into native grasses on the right, forcing him to take unplayable lies, and then added a shot hit into the water in front of the green.