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Ask for a Ruling with Cory Armstrong (April 9)

Q Last week on television, Phil Mickelson tried to play his ball from within a water hazard. Unfortunately, his ball struck him in the leg and bounced back into the hazard. Also, an extra ball that was not visible flew out. I know Phil received a one-stroke penalty for accidentally deflecting his ball. However, should he have received an additional penalty for playing a wrong ball? - Steve (Myrtle Beach)

AI saw that shot too, Steve. It was a pretty interesting situation.

Phil, a left-handed golfer, tried to play the shot right-handed with his wedge turned upside down, and it did not go very well. After deflecting one ball with his leg and seeing another ball emerge, he called in a Rules Official to help figure out how to proceed. Another official in the TV trailer confirmed that the ball that hit Phil in the leg was his own. Therefore, he received a one-stroke penalty under Rule 19-2 - Ball in Motion Deflected or Stopped by Player, Partner, Caddie, or Equipment.

It was a bit shocking to suddenly see two balls in motion after Phil's attempt. We sometimes call him a magician with a wedge, but come on ... turning one ball into two with a wave of a wand? According to Decision 15/2, Phil was not subject to penalty under Rule 15-3 - Wrong Ball because he played a stroke with his own ball, not with the hidden ball.

Since Phil's ball ended deep in the hazard, he took relief using one of the options available under Rule 26-1 - Relief for Ball in Water Hazard, earning an additional one-stroke penalty. I believe he carded an unfortunate, but entertaining, triple-bogey.

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