Viktor Hovland escapes disqualification after rules mix-up

Viktor Hovland Players

Viktor Hovland has received a two-stroke penalty during his opening round at the PLAYERS Championship following a rules debacle at the par-4 15th hole on Thursday.

The Norwegian called a two-shot penalty on himself after a lapse in concentration on the 15th green during the first round of the PLAYERS Championship.

The two-time PGA Tour winner’s two-under 70 was adjusted to a 72 after he apparently self-reported the infringement to tournament officials at TPC Sawgrass when he failed to replace his marker in the correct place before holing a short putt for par.

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In order to clear the line for playing partner, Justin Thomas, Hovland moved his ball mark the length of one putter head away. When he went to replace it, he mistakenly moved it one putter head in the same direction instead of back to its original spot.

Hovland apparently got wind of his mistake after hearing that a video from his native Norway showed the incident taking place. The player and his caddie got in touch with the Rules Committee, which reviewed the tape.

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“He had left the property,” rules official Gary Young told the PGA Tour. “I sent him a clip of the video, and he’s very comfortable with the result, that he’s getting the penalty. He understands the rule. He didn’t know he did it.”

Instead of getting disqualified for signing an incorrect card, the current World No.13 was saved by Rule 3.3b3, which states a player can be retroactively penalised shots for unknowingly violating a rule.

Hovland currently sits T43 on the leaderboard and gets his second round underway at 12:49 (local time) on Friday alongside Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay.

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