GOLF: Wilson misses Players cut after costly penalty
AP Sports Writer
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – With his ball nestled near a tree on the par-4 fifth at TPC Sawgrass, Mark Wilson decided to turn around and hit a left-handed chip shot.
It ended up being a costly mistake.
Wilson seemingly struck the ball twice and called a two-shot penalty on himself. The extra strokes caused him to miss the cut at The Players Championship on Friday.
“I think I hit it twice,” Wilson said. “Not for certain, but I heard two clicks. I asked my caddie what he thought and he was, ‘Yeah, I think I heard two clicks, too.”‘
Wilson asked PGA Tour officials for help. They checked video replays, but decided those were inconclusive. So they left the call up to Wilson.
“You never know for sure,” Wilson said. “If I was 1 percent (sure) that I thought I hit it, then I have to call the penalty on myself. It’s not like (if it’s) 50-50, it goes in the player’s favor. If 1 percent of me thinks I double-hit it, then I have to take the penalty.”
Wilson, a two-time winner this year, shot a 3-over 75 and finished at 1-over 145, one stroke off the cut.
It wasn’t the first notable penalty Wilson has called on himself.
In the 2007 Honda Classic, Wilson called a two-shot penalty on himself because his caddie told another player in the group what club he hit on a hole. Without that penalty, Wilson might have won the event in regulation. Instead, he needed to win a four-man playoff the following day.
LITTLE HELP: Michael Bradley yanked his tee shot into a lake on No. 7 and immediately dropped his driver in disgust.
A second later, he watched the all-important club bounce into the water.
Oops. Now what?
His playing partner, Louis Oosthuizen, tried to get it but couldn’t. Luckily for Bradley, a spectator agreed to try a more risky retrieval. With others holding him tight, the fan stepped down into the hazard, standing on a wooden pylon, stretched Oosthuizen’s driver into the lagoon and scooped up the other club.
“It was funny,” Bradley said. “I didn’t really realize I was so close to the water. When I dropped it, it just kind of bounded and I was just watching it, going, ‘Oh, crap, what did I do?’ The head of the driver went, ‘boop,’ and over it went. I’m like, ‘Oh my God, what did you just do?”‘
Bradley ended up carding a triple-bogey 7 and missed the cut by a stroke. He finished at 1-over 145. He used the driver again on No. 9 and closed with a birdie.
As for the fan, Bradley gave him an autographed glove for his trouble.
“That’s what he wanted,” Bradley said.
What if he would have asked for the driver?
“I would have probably politely declined,” Bradley said.
RORY TO THE RESCUE: Jonathan Byrd received a bad time Friday for taking too long to hit his second shot while his group was out of position. That’s not terribly surprising.
The stunner was that Rory Sabbatini came to his defense.
Byrd took longer than the minute he was allowed – he was the first to hit on the par-5 11th – and received a bad time. He will be fined the next time he goes over the limit when his group is on the clock, so Byrd contested it. He faced a difficult shot out of the trees.
Sabbatini, one of the faster players on tour, protested the bad time.
“Rory felt it was a challenging shot,” Byrd said. “Rory was my advocate.”
Asked if saw the coincidence in Sabbatini coming to his aid, Byrd shook his head without so much as cracking a smile.
“Rory is a standup guy,” Byrd said. “He does a lot of good things.”
NO REPEAT: Tim Clark’s right elbow was starting to swell. The pain was growing with every shot, too.
So Clark, the defending champion, felt as if he had no choice but to withdraw from The Players Championship in the second round Friday.
Clark shot 2-over 74 in the opening round and played 10 holes Friday before stopping.
“It’s just been getting a little worse as the day went on,” Clark said. “I hit a shot out of the rough on 9 and I could feel it getting worse. There’s just no point in staying. I tried as good as I can for two days. Yeah, at the moment it’s starting to get a little worse. I can see it’s swollen right now and there’s no point.”
Clark developed tendinitis in his elbow following a second-place finish at the Sony Open in January. He played in the Masters, but missed the cut and only showed up at TPC Sawgrass to defend his lone PGA Tour victory. Now, he’s not sure when he will play again.
He plans to withdraw from next week’s event in Texas.
“If I can’t finish two rounds here, how am I going to finish two there?” he said. “But I’m going to go to Fort Worth and continue treatment with the guys. I’m just going to stay on top of it. I can’t get too despondent and down on myself. It has been getting better, which is a good sign, so I’m going to try and stay positive and keep working at it.”
OGILVY OUT: Geoff Ogilvy withdrew because of a sore left shoulder.
Ogilvy shot a 3-over 75 in the first round Thursday and played nine holes Friday before bowing out. He was 2 over when he walked away.
Ogilvy said last week his shoulder started bothering him toward the end of the Masters and at the Texas Open. He thought it would be fine when he got to Quail Hollow in Charlotte, but then decided another week of rest would make sure it doesn’t become a bigger problem.
It’s unclear whether he will be able to play next week in Fort Worth, Texas, his wife’s home state.