Masters controversies: How the Rules of Golf played a part at Augusta
4. The time Arnie and Venturi fell out
During Arnold Palmer’s first win in 1958 there was a little incident out at the 12th green. Palmer’s ball was embedded over the green and he thought he was entitled to a drop – rules official Arthur Lacey didn’t agree.
So Palmer played the ball as it lay and made a five. He then, insisting he was right, played another ball and made par.
Three holes later Augusta officials, including Bobby Jones, notified Palmer and playing partner Ken Venturi to say the par 3 should be recorded on the card.
Venturi insisted that Palmer should have notified him of the second ball and the fall-out got in the way of their friendship.
“The incident affected our relationship. We both wrote about it in subsequent books, each of us insisting that we were right. I think the whole incident says more about the confusion built into the Rules of Golf than it does about me or Ken,” said Palmer, who would win by one, years later.
5. ‘I’m just going to roll a few..’
This is a beauty and not a story often retold. Dow Finsterwald had finished the 8th hole on the Friday of the 1960 Masters when he prepared to take a practice putt.
His playing partner Billy Casper advised him that this practice wasn’t allowed and the back of the scorecard backed this up under the local rules.
The problem was that the 1958 PGA champion had taken practice putts on the first day so the committee handed him a two-shot penalty, turning his 69 into a 71.
Finsterwald would go on to finish third, that’s right, two shots behind his good friend Arnie.
6. ‘I’d like a second opinion’
You’ll remember Phil Mickelson’s first Masters win in 2004 when he pipped Ernie Els, the one where he did that weird jump and Peter Alliss had it down for a play-off?
But you might not recall his drop in the third round after hooking one into some undergrowth at the 11th.
With no shot and his ball surrounded by branches he called for a ruling claiming there was some debris in the vicinity which had been piled up for removal.
The man from the PGA Tour promptly said no and the option looked to be to head back to the tee.
But Els asked for a second opinion and the chair of the rules committee declared it ‘piled for removal’ and he got a free drop from where he made a bogey.