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Xander Schauffele was dealt a rather prickly lie at the Waste Management Phoenix Open when his ball came to rest just short of TPC Scottsdale's many cacti.
Playing the par-4 6th hole, his 15th of the day, the American had been going along nicely at three-under-par. However, a pulled drive thankfully finished short of the spiny plant.
After moving the dead vegetation, as well as getting a few spikes in his hands for good measure, the Olympic gold medallist would go on to save his par.
Watch the video below:
Things are getting ...Prickly for @XSchauffele 🌵 pic.twitter.com/RBFWXLQ127February 10, 2022
After the shot, the commentary team had been wondering why Schauffele hadn't used a towel to help move the obstructions and avoid getting damaged by the cactus. And, looking at rule 15.1a, they may have had a point, with the rule stating that you can 'remove a loose impediment anywhere on or off the course using a hand, foot, club or equipment or in any other way.'
Therefore, the 28-year-old could have used a towel or club to pick up the cactus and avoid harming himself. Anyway, it didn't seem to bother Schauffele, who simply pulled out the sharp spines, jokingly said to the crowd: "That seemed like a good idea at the time!" and put his shot onto the green for a concluding par.
It's not just cacti that have caused problems before on the TPC Scottsdale layout. At the 1999 Phoenix Open, Tiger Woods was playing the par-5 13th hole when his drive ended up behind a giant boulder.
Calling a rules officials over, the official deemed the giant boulder to be a loose impediment and, with the help of a dozen or so golf fans, this loose impediment was rolled out of Tiger’s way. As a result, he was able to blast the ball out and make birdie when it was highly likely that par would have been a good score.
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.
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