Champions Tour pro hit with bizarre penalty

Hoag Classic Rick Garboski

Over the years golf has seen its fair share of rules mishaps.

However, what happened to poor Rick Garboski is surely one of the more unusual. 

Making his first start on the PGA Tour Champions, Garboski forgot to put more balls in his bag ahead of his second round after giving some away as souvenirs. 

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After just four holes, disaster struck when he hit two balls in the water and discovered he had run out. 

Former Open winner Mark Calcavecchia, who was also in the field, revealed Garboski had first had to borrow a ball, costing him a two-shot penalty, before dropping back to the group behind so a rules official could retrieve more from his locker.

Under rule 4.2a(1), if a player runs out of balls they are allowed to ask their playing partners for one, but they are not obliged to lend one. 

To rub salt into the wound, he was then hit with a further one-stroke penalty over his pace of play – but he was remarkably magnanimous following the incident. 

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“It’s an unfortunate error, and I’m going to laugh about it,” Garboski said.  

“I’m just so thankful that the tour officials figured out a way for me to actually finish. I didn’t mind the penalties, because I just wanted to be able to play.” 

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