AUGUSTA, Ga. — If you’re a golfer, you might have accidentally missed your ball on a swing as a beginner.
Or maybe even inadvertently nicked it sideways on the tee box.
The latter happened, quite comically, at Zach Johnson’s expense Friday at The Masters.
Johnson stood up on one of the world’s most famous tee boxes Friday afternoon at Augusta National’s 13th and his practice swing inadvertently nicked his ball straight sideways, and it bounced off the tee marker and headed 10 yards down the left-hand side of the teeing ground.
Johnson looked back sheepishly to his playing partners Matt Kuchar and Ian Poulter.
“Yeah, that was a good one there,” Johnson said of his mishap. “That’s a first.”
Thankfully, the mistake did not count against the 2007 champion because it happened on a tee box instead of any other part of the course, and because he was not intending to hit the ball.
In fact, Rule 18-2 of the United States Golf Association’s “Rules of Golf” address this in “Ball at Rest Moved.” Had Johnson done this on his second shot from the fairway or rough, after he’d already hit his tee shot, he’d have been assessed a one-stroke penalty and would have had to replace his ball in its original position.
To add to the comedy here, Johnson went on to hit a 285-yard drive and hit the par-5 green in two, casually two-putting for a routine birdie.
Easy game, right?
In the end, Johnson made the cut right on the number after posting a 1-over 73 Friday, good for a 3-over total for the tournament.
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“I thought I had done it all but now I know I’ve done it all,” Johnson said. “Shoot, they got that?”
Did they ever.
The hilarious blunder was first seen on Masters.com’s streaming coverage of the event on the “Amen Corner” show that many golf fans were watching from their homes, phones and likely cubicles.
Then it went crazy on social with golf journalists and regular weekend hackers chiming in on the incredibly relatable moment.
Fantasy Golf Podcast tweeted “Wow! Zach Johnson is all of us.”
“I don’t think I could do it again if I even tried,” Johnson said.
The best part of this whole moment?
Kuchar and Johnson are good friends. Kuchar also happens to have one of the best trash-talking minds in golf according to the all-timer Phil Mickelson.
So does the Iowan think Kuchar will ever let Johnson forget this priceless moment?
“He doesn’t let me forget many things,” Johnson said, “but, hey, you get what you deserve.”
Kuchar described the moment well after Friday’s one-of-a-kind round.
“I didn’t see it, but I heard it,” Kuchar told ESPN.com. “Zach’s eyes were as big as I’ve ever seen them. His jaw dropped and we had a good chuckle knowing that wasn’t a penalty, but a not-so-top-10 moment.”