Golfer Receives Brutal Disqualification At Korn Ferry Tour Q-School

Gavin Hall was disqualified from his first round at Q-school after coming unstuck by a little-known rule and some potentially unsporting behaviour by a caddie

Gavin Hall hits a drive
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Disqualifications happen all the time on the golf course, but the story of Gavin Hall coming unstuck by a little-known rule in the Korn Ferry Tour Q-school might just be the strangest one yet.

The former University of Texas teammate of Scottie Scheffler had struggled since turning professional in 2017, with a combination of injuries and driver yips threatening to derail his career. A 17th place finish on the PGA Tour Canada Order of Merit gave Hall entry into the second stage of Q-school for the Korn Ferry Tour, but things didn't go to plan.

An hour after shooting a six-under-par 66 in the first round at Plantation Preserve Golf Club in Florida, Hall was told that he had been DQ’d for a little-known rules violation following a call from one of the group's caddies according to the Firepit Collective.

On the 6th hole, he hit a drive up the left-hand side that ended up in the water, which was confirmed by all three people in the group seeing the splash. He hit a second ball off the tee due to there being nowhere down the fairway to drop.

However, according to rule 18.3(a), when the only two outcomes for a shot are that the ball is in a penalty area or in play, a provisional isn’t allowed. After hitting his second tee shot, Hall had essentially declared his first ball was in a penalty area, meaning that even if his first ball was found, he had to play his second.

It appeared nobody knew this, but one of his playing partners reportedly brought this up with Hall, asking “are you sure you can play that?”

Hall’s caddie found his original ball on the banks of the penalty area, and he hit a shot into the fairway before making par, although by this time he was playing the wrong ball after essentially deeming it lost by playing a second tee shot.

Sources claim that a caddie in the group uttered something softly about a possible rule infraction but he didn’t think Hall heard him. If he was aware of any infringement, he could have gone back and completed the hole with a penalty for playing the wrong ball.

Hall eventually went on to shoot his 66 and nothing was said in the scoring tent after the round about any infraction and it took until an hour later that he learnt his fate.

Apparently, the caddie in question said something in play prior to going into the scoring tent, yet nothing was said. After going home and checking the rules, the caddie made the phone call to the rules official.

There’s no doubt the disqualification will be tough to get over and it's fair to say, Hall won't make the same mistake again.

Ross Kilvington

Ross Kilvington is a freelance writer from Scotland who has had his work published by acclaimed publications such as Nutmeg alongside popular online blogs including the Gentleman Ultra, North Section and Engrossed in Football. Ross holds a passionate interest in golf and tries to play as often as possible, although having two daughters under the age of four means his quest to break 80 will have to wait a little bit longer. He writes about golf in his spare time, most recently having an article published in the Golf Memories anthology Mind the Links, which was released in July with all proceeds going towards Alzheimer charities. With a handicap that floats between 13-14, highlights are few and far between on the golf course, with an eagle on the par 4 16th at Kinghorn one that stands out (it doesn’t matter that it was only 290 yards!).