Golfer Launches Headcover At Caddie After Rules Blunder, Caddie Fights Back

There was a hugely controversial start to the 2018 Tour season

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Tour season got underway this week in the Bahamas and there was a huge controversy surrounding a player, his caddie and the Rules of Golf.

Golfer Launches Headcover At Caddie After Rules Blunder, Caddie Fights Back

Australian Rhein Gibson was coming down the par-5 18th hole one behind the lead needing a birdie to force a playoff or an eagle to win the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic.

He had 245 metres with his second shot and pulled it left into a hazard.

What followed was quite extraordinary.

Related: Lexi Thompson loses major after 4 stroke penalty

Gibson's caddie, Brandon Davis - who has since been fired, found the ball wedged in between two rocks in a hazard with the help of a rules official and Gibson uttered an expletive, leading Davis to believe his player was not going to attempt to play it.

Davis then picked the ball up, assuming he and Gibson were taking a drop, before the rules official handed Gibson a one-stroke penalty for moving a ball that was still in play.

That penalty was on top of the penalty drop that Rhein Gibson eventually took from the hazard.

Gibson dropped it out and chipped it up to tap-in range for bogey, before throwing his putter headcover at his caddie.

Watch the video here:

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Instead of finishing in a tie for 2nd place, Gibson ended 3rd and ultimately lost out on $12,000.

Gibson later apologised on Twitter:

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But that wasn't the end of it. Davis fought back, replying with:

But what's more, it turns out that the rules official may have falsely given out that one stroke penalty.

That's because of Rule 26-1/9 on caddies lifting balls out of water hazards without their player's authority.

Related: How social media reacted to Lexi Thompson's rules penalty

The rule states:

"Q. A player's ball lying in a water hazard is lifted by the player's caddie without the player's authority. What is the ruling?

A. There is no penalty under Rule 18-2 if there was no doubt or it was reasonable to assume from the player’s actions or statements that he would make his next stroke from outside the water hazard."

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Davis says that his player walked away in disgust after seeing the ball, and therefore it is reasonable to assume from the player's actions that he would make his next stroke from outside the water.

The sacked caddie then took to YouTube to explain the situation:

"Did he throw a headcover at me? Yes," he said.

"Did he fire me on the spot? Yes!

Related: Golfers can now have 54 handicaps after new CONGU change

"Did he have a reason to? yes...until i found this!

"I got fired today on national television.

"Because I did something that I did not think was wrong and it wasn't wrong, I have to defend myself and I'm doing it because I believe in the truth."

Davis also explains in the video of his certainty that both he and Gibson knew that there would be no way of playing the ball.

Related: Golf to scrap viewer call-ins on rules infringements

He also tweeted: "No explanation or apology from the tour yet. I'll update if I hear anything."

Watch Gibson's YouTube explanation of the situation here:

Canadian Adam Svensson eventually won the title by a stroke.

What do you think of this situation?

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Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV