Pro Receives Two-Shot Penalty After Hitting Ball Out Of Tree

Dylan Frittelli had elected to play his golf ball, which was up in a tree. However, following the shot, he was given a two-stroke penalty

Frittelli hits out a tree
(Image credit: Twitter: @RossLordo)

Golf is a strange game and, at the RBC Heritage on Sunday, that strangeness was on full display when Dylan Frittelli was given a two-shot penalty for playing a shot from a tree (opens in new tab) on the 6th hole.

After pulling his drive left, the South African found his ball suspended in one of Harbour Town's many, many trees. Looking at the ball from different angles, as well as consulting his caddie, we think, Frittelli elected to play his shot with a driver, gripping up the club to be able to power his shot out of the moss.

Following the stroke though, it was soon announced by PGA Tour Communications that Frittelli (opens in new tab)was given a two-shot penalty under Rule 10.1c (making stroke while standing across or on line of play).

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From what we hear, the 31-year-old says: "It can't be that strong (in reference to the moss surrounding the golf ball). It's obviously swaying in the wind and that is not a moving ball, it's stationary in the moss, so I'm saying to hit it."

After hitting an almost tennis serve-like shot, Frittelli would go on to make a par. However, it was announced that he broke Rule 10.1c, which states: "The player must not make a stroke from a stance with a foot deliberately placed on each side of, or with either foot deliberately touching, the line of play or an extension of that line behind the ball.

"For this Rule only, the line of play does not include a reasonable distance on either side. Exception – There Is No Penalty If Stance Is Taken Accidentally or to Avoid Another Player’s Line of Play." As a result, his par was changed to a double-bogey.

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After his final round, Frittelli took to Twitter to say: "I thought this would be the greatest Par of my life. I was assessed a 2-stroke penalty for “standing astride” my intended line of play during this shot. The rules of golf remain undefeated!"

According to some, there was a rules official on site when the moment happened, with Frittelli consulted on options before he elected to play. However, the rule was apparently never mentioned to the South African.

Following the penalty, the 31-year-old went on to shoot a five-over-par 76, finishing in a tie for 66th place for the tournament. 

Matt Cradock
Matt Cradock

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.