By Andrew Wright published
And the award for the strangest rules infraction of the year goes to Henrik Stenson and Jordan Spieth. The pair were out in the first twosome of the final round at the Hero World Challenge and were well out of contention when they approached the ninth hole, a 632-yard monster par-5 with water all the way up the right-hand side - not the sort of shot you want to hit twice.
But that is the fate that befell the two major champions after both hit their drives from the wrong tee box. And as well as replaying the shot, they were also assessed two-shot penalties.
In case you missed it, here's how the incident played out on Sunday:
Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson were assessed a 2-shot penalty for playing from the wrong tee box in Sunday's final round. pic.twitter.com/09iXHHNDhJDecember 5, 2021
Spieth went on to rack up a triple-bogey eight en route to finishing last in the 20-man event, while Stenson, the defending champion, carded a double-bogey seven and finished a place ahead of his playing partner. Given their positions at the time, both were able to see the funny side after the round.
"I'm still not sure which way we played it, but yeah, we kept our heads down off the finishing out on hole No. 8 and walked to the 9 tee box that we did on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and put the ball down and hit some beautiful tee shots," Stenson joked.
Spieth and Stenson react to playing from the wrong tee box (and their 2-shot penalties) 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/m58E6LBDW6December 6, 2021
"Then when we went down to the balls and the rules official said, 'did you hit off the right tee box?' And we're like, 'well, yeah, kind of', and then we looked back and we saw that there was another one forward and left. So obviously they switched things around and put 17 on the 9th tee box today and 9 was in a different place and we didn't pay attention being first out and just motoring along.
"Yes, it was just go back and reload. It was only two shots each, so it wasn't a big deal. Then we just kind of carried on from there."
Spieth added: "I actually didn't think we were going to get penalised because it's a charity event, but then I realised there's world ranking involved and all that. I think the frustrating part for us now is that every other group's going to be -- they're making sure to tell them, but for us they didn't. It obviously didn't matter for us, which is fortunate I think for those guys."
It was the Texan's second two-shot penalty of the event and in fact the weekend, after he accidentally nudged his ball with his putter on the 18th green during Saturday's third round. Had he replaced it he'd have been in the clear, but because he played it from its new position he fell foul of rule 13.1(d), which came into effect in 2019.
But despite finishing last and second last respectively, both Spieth and Stenson pocketed world ranking points and six-figure cheques. Good work if you can get it.
A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform covering football, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1, but he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing. He now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a handicap of 1. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
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