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‘Screw you, but thanks’ – Hadwin’s rules confession caught on microphone

Adam Hadwin was mic’d up when he was given a two-shot penalty in a rules mishap at the RBC Heritage – so we got to hear every second of it
 

You know golf’s truly back when there’s a Rules of Golf mishap – and TV viewers had an armchair seat for every moment of Adam Hadwin’s misery at the RBC Heritage.

The Canadian had agreed to be mic’d up for the first round at Harbour Town Golf Links and it provided a fascinating insight when he received a two-shot penalty on the par-4 13th hole.

Hadwin was removing loose impediments in a bunker when the controversy occurred.

Rule 12.2a in the Rule Book allows players to remove loose impediments in a bunker and also allows them to reasonably touch or move the sand in the bunker that happens while doing so.

But after removing one rock, Hadwin picked up what he thought was another right behind the ball – only for it to crumble in his hands.

“I’m pretty sure that’s a penalty, what I just did there,” Hadwin said to his caddie and immediately called over Mark Dusbabek, PGA Tour Senior Tournament Referee.

“I removed a rock and then I went to remove what I thought was another rock, and as I grabbed said rock it crumbled, because it was actually sand,” he told him. “It looked like a rock to me, that’s why I was trying to remove it. It was right behind the ball.”

Rule 12.2b states that before making a stroke at a ball in a bunker players must not “deliberately touch sand in the bunker with a hand, club, rake or other object to test the condition of the sand to learn information for the next stroke”.

It later adds that players can also receive the general penalty – Rules speak for two shots – if their actions “in touching the sand improve the conditions affecting the stroke in breach of Rule 8.1a”.

Hadwin knew what was coming but still retained his sense of humour as, when Dusbabek confirmed he would be assessed the sanction, he replied: “OK, thanks. Well, not thank you, but yeah. Screw you, but thanks.”

He went on to finish tied for 41st place.

What did you think of the penalty? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me.

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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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