Golfer Misses Out On Rocket Mortgage Classic After Admitting Rule Breach

Hayden Springer had made it into a Rocket Mortgage Classic play-off on Monday but was disqualified before it began

Hayden Springer
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Hayden Springer shot a six-under 66 to take him into a four-way play-off in the Rocket Mortgage Classic qualifiers on Monday, but he would not qualify for the tournament after he showed 'great integrity' calling a penalty on himself. 

With three qualifying places up for grabs for this week's PGA Tour event, the play-off went to the first hole but, according to Detroit News, it was here that the 26-year-old realised that he accidentally had a 15th club in his bag.

Under USGA Rule 4.1(b), players are only allowed to have 14 clubs in their bag and, whilst he had played his round with 14 clubs, Springer had been practising before the play-off with an additional club that he had seemingly forgotten to take out of his bag. 

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The Texas Christian University alumnus was vying for his first start on the PGA Tour since the 2021 US Open, but unfortunately incurred a two-shot penalty for breaching the rule. 

After teeing off on the par-4 first play-off hole at the Fieldstone Golf Club in Auburn Hills, he noticed the extra club in his bag on the fairway and notified the officials. Springer subsequently found himself on the green with a putt for birdie and perhaps, had he nailed it, could have given himself a lifeline, with one of the other three players making a bogey, while the other two made par. 

Unfortunately for the American, he missed that putt, tapping in for a par and with the penalty added, earned himself a double bogey.

Andy Spencer, Peter Kuest and Brett Stegmaier would all advance from the play-off to gain a berth in the Rocket Mortgage Classic, while Kyle Reifers, who also qualified for the Travelers Championship last week, booked his place after he finished top of the leaderboard at -8. 

Hayden Springer watches his tee shot

Springer during the 2019 A Military Tribute At The Greenbrier

(Image credit: Getty Images)

After the qualifier, Springer was lauded for his honesty with Kevin Helm, Executive Director of the Michigan Section PGA, saying: "It's great integrity. Nobody else knew. Kudos to him. He noticed it. He didn't think to take it out of the bag."

The four qualifiers will now tee it up alongside a list of illustrious names who are set to compete for an $8.8million prize pot at the Detroit Golf Club this weekend. Some of those names include Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas and last year's champion, Tony Finau, who'll be looking to defend his title this week and undo a disappointing T45 finish at the Travelers Championship on Sunday. 

Ed Carruthers

Ed has been playing golf for as long as he can remember and is obsessive about the sport. He is regularly sought after by family members and friends for advice on what equipment to buy and uses his background, having written extensively on golf in the past, to produce equipment orientated content for Golf Monthly.  

Having obtained a Masters in Law with Medicine from the University of Liverpool, Ed has recently changed paths into journalism and just last year achieved his NCTJ Sports Journalism Diploma with the Press Association. 

He has written for a variety of media outlets over the years and has interviewed some big names in sport, including Premier League managers, All Blacks Coaches and Grand Slam tennis superstars. He has also worked on some huge sporting events, including the 2021 Australian Open and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. And when he's not writing for Golf Monthly, you'll find him producing news and feature articles for the MailOnline's sports desk, where he covers everything from football to rugby union. 

During his weekends off, you'll likely find Ed heading out for a round at one of his local golf clubs with his friends, and was, up until recently, a member at the Leatherhead Golf Club in Surrey. Ed also plays the saxophone, can tell you some pretty terrible dad jokes and can knock up a very tasty carbonara!