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Paul Casey

How Casey avoided one of golf’s most bizarre penalties

Paul Casey almost came to rules grief at the Porsche European Open, in Germany, after an encounter with an insect on a green at the Green Eagle Golf Courses

 

In a year that seems to have been dominated by weird rules infractions, this would surely have been the most bizarre of all.

Paul Casey’s second-round 73 at the Porsche European Open came under some scrutiny in the recorder’s hut when the Englishman took a peek at a video of one of the putts he made during the round.

On its way to dropping into the left edge of the hole, the ball rolled over a moving insect in its path.

Rule 11, in the Rules of Golf, covers what happens when a ball in motion accidentally hits a person, animal or object.

There is usually no penalty and the player is forced to accept the result – whether that’s positive or negative.

But exception 2 says that when a ball played from a putting green accidentally hits any person, animal or movable obstruction on the putting green “the stroke does not count and the original ball or another ball must be replaced on its original spot”.

Porsche European Open betting tips

Casey didn’t do this and the penalty for playing a ball from a wrong place is two shots. So why didn’t his 73 become a 75?

The Ryder Cup player wasn’t aware of the incident until after the round. If he’d known his ball had hit the bug, and not then replaced it, the result would have been different.

But wasn’t the incident on video, you ask? We could all see the ball had hit the insect.

The answer to that may very well come down to Rule 20.2, which covers “Rulings on Issues Under the Rules”.

Section C, looking at “applying ‘naked eye’ standard when using video evidence” states that “if the facts shown on the video could not reasonably have been seen with the naked eye, that video evidence will be disregarded even if it indicates a breach of the rules”.

Casey would have needed the eyes of a hawk to have seen the bug on his line but have a look at the video below and see how it all played out…

Casey went on to win the tournament.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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