Berger Fuming After Hovland Denies Him Drop At Players Championship

Daniel Berger and Viktor Hovland were not in agreement over a drop during the Players Championship final round

Screenshot of Players Championship video
(Image credit: Twitter @golfthatball/ESPN/PGA Tour)

Daniel Berger was left angry after Viktor Hovland denied him what he felt was the correct spot to drop during the final round of the Players Championship.

Berger hit his second shot into the water on the par-5 16th hole at TPC Sawgrass and hoped to take his drop much further up the hole where he felt his ball had crossed the penalty area.

However, his playing partner Viktor Hovland was uncomfortable with Berger dropping further up the hole and made sure he dropped it further back. The other member in the group, Joel Dahmen, was also unsure of where the ball crossed the hazard and said that he and his caddie were unsure of where exactly the ball had crossed.

"To be honest with you I'm not really okay with it being up there. That's not really what I saw," Hovland said to Berger, accompanied by a PGA Tour rules official.

"It's a bad drop that's all I'm saying, it's way too far back," Berger said. "You know, I'm gonna drop here for the sake of you guys but you guys are wrong.

"I want you to go where you feel it crossed, alright? We don't have any video evidence so I'm just kinda letting you guys work it out amongst yourselves," the official said.

"It's a wrong drop, it's way further up," Berger said to the official. "I'm not gonna have these guys sit here and make me do that. I am coming to a compromise but it's a wrong drop, it crossed way up there."

Watch the incident below:

See more

Berger went on to bogey the 16th and eventually signed for a 70 (-2) to finish at six-under-par, which was T13th. Hovland bogeyed the 18th hole to drop to seven-under for a tie for 9th.

"We've got to protect the field and protect all the other guys," Hovland said after the round. “We try to keep it professional. It's not like we're trying to dog on Daniel and trying to screw him over. It's just, that's what we believe, and he obviously felt strongly the other way. I'm not accusing him of anything. The golf ball is in the air for a couple seconds, so it's tough to exactly pinpoint where it crossed."

The rules on penalty areas state that you must drop your ball back in line of where it crossed the penalty area with the pin or within two clubs of where it crossed. You also have the option to go back to where you originally played the shot from. These apply for red staked areas. Yellow staked areas only allow back in line or re-hit drops and not two club lengths from point of entry.

Elliott Heath
Elliott Heath

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.


Elliott is currently playing:


Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x