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Why was this PGA Tour pro allowed free relief after losing his ball?

Why was this PGA Tour pro allowed free relief after losing his ball?

Carl Yuan sent his ball sailing towards a hospitality tent at the Sony Open, so golf fans were confused as to why his next shot was a straightforward pitch from the fairway with no penalty…

 

Two tournaments into the PGA Tour schedule and a TIO ruling has already turned up.

Carl Yuan was the player involved while playing the par-5 18th in the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Yuan found the fairway bunker off the tee and sent his second shot sailing right towards the stands of a hospitality area, not too far short of the green.

The ball wasn’t seen again, but he was allowed a drop without penalty a couple of yards from the stands on the short grass, 45 yards from the pin.

The 26-year-old didn’t make the birdie it proved he needed, and finished one shot behind Grayson Murray, Keegan Bradley and Byeong Hun An who entered a playoff at Waialae Country Club.

Golf fans were confused to find Yuan faced a relatively simple pitch to the putting surface after his second shot was so wayward.

What was the Carl Yuan ruling?

Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis explained the rules procedure that led to Yuan’s ball being lost, and then playing his next shot from such a favourable position.

“After looking at video evidence they determined with virtual certainty that the ball went into that hospitality area, that temporary immovable obstruction (TIO),” Lewis said.

“They also had some testimony from the folks in those hospitality suites, so it was determined that the ball was lost in those tents, and that’s why he was able to get that relief without penalty.”

The Model Local Rule F-24 refers to relief when a ball in a TIO isn’t found, but is known or virtually certain to have come to rest in a TIO.

A player can take relief under this local rule by using the estimated point where the ball last crossed the edge of the TIO on the course as the spot of the ball for purposes of finding the nearest point of complete relief.

Once a player puts another ball in play, the original ball is no longer in play and can’t be played.

Yuan carded an impressive 63 to finish in tied fourth. Last season, the man from China finished 126th in the FedEx Cup standings, and outside of the top 125 places that earned fully exempt rights on the PGA Tour.

But after Jon Rahm’s move to LIV Golf, he was removed from the standings and Yuan was bumped up a place and offered a reprieve.

NOW READ: How much does the winner bank? Here’s the Sony Open prize money

NOW READ: Meet the pro golfer who shot 53-over-par on the DP World Tour

Is this Carl Yuan ruling clear now? Tell us on X/Twitter!

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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