Luke Donald Hits The Wrong Ball At Italian Open

The European Ryder Cup captain had a moment to forget at the 16th, when he accidently played the wrong golf ball

Donald looks on with a wedge in his hand
(Image credit: Getty Images)

On Friday, Luke Donald carded a slightly bizarre second round that included eight birdies, two bogeys and a triple bogey. However, it was an incident at the par 4 16th which the Englishman would remember most, as he "did something that he's never done in golf!"

Donald, who is the European Ryder Cup captain for 2023, an event that is actually taking place at this week's venue, Marco Simone Golf And Country Club, had been going along nicely until the par 4. Following a pulled drive, he ended up playing the wrong golf ball after the spotter allegedly went to the wrong one.

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Speaking to Sky Sports afterwards, the 44-year-old said: "I did something I don’t think I’ve ever done in golf. I hit the wrong ball on 16, which was frustrating. I hit a poor tee shot left in the rough, the spotter kind of went straight to the ball and I just assumed it was mine. In fact, mine was a few feet left of it and yeah that was a costly 7."

Because Donald had played the wrong golf ball, he was given a general penalty of two strokes, eventually finishing the hole with a triple-bogey seven. After the triple, he parred the 17th, before a birdie at the 18th meant a round of 68 and a five-under-par tournament total as he heads into the weekend.

Sitting around the top 10, Donald is looking to better his best result of 2022, a T16 finish at the Valspar Championship, with the former World No.1 missing the cut in his last two starts - Made In Himmerland and BMW PGA Championship.

Donald holds the Ryder Cup outside the clubhouse

Donald poses with the Ryder Cup trophy at the clubhouse entrance prior to the start of the DS Automobiles Italian Open

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Although the Ryder Cup is a year away, players on the European side have been vocal about the names that could feature in Rome at the Italian Open this week. Rory McIlroy, who is making his Italian Open debut, has reiterated that none of the LIV Golf players should be part of the Ryder Cup team, with the World No.2 stating: “I have said it once, I've said it a hundred times, I don't think any of those guys should be on the Ryder Cup team."

In contrast, recent US Open winner, Matt Fitzpatrick, has claimed that "I just want to win the Ryder Cup, so in my opinion, I want to be part of the team myself but I want the 11 best guys we can get. I'm not really too bothered about where they are going to come from. I just want to make sure that we win and I think that's what's most important."

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x