2 pros hit into bunker — then several rules and announcer come into play

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Gavin Green, left, and Shubhankar Sharma on Friday on the 8th hole. at DLF Golf and Country Club.
Golf Channel
One pro’s ball hitting another pro’s ball, in a bunker, from about 200 yards away. A conversation with an official. Some help from the on-course reporter. Multiple rules considered. Twenty-five minutes to play the hole. 
Or in short, bizarre-golf bingo. At the end, Shubhankar Sharma parred the 566-yard, par-5 8th at DLF Golf and Country Club during Friday’s second round of the DP World Tour’s Indian Open, and Gavin Green parred it, too. But that’s probably not why you came here. 
To begin, Sharma and Green each found the fairway from the tee, then Green hit into the left greenside bunker. Then Sharma did too, and his ball knocked Green’s a few inches backward. Of course, with the bunker a little below ground, and the players two football fields away, it would be hard for them to see the contact, and here’s where the on-course reporter came into play, along with the first two rules. 
The announcer told Sharma and Green what had happened. (Would they have known? Hard to say, and a few inches probably doesn’t matter, but we applaud the all-around honesty.) And Sharma was allowed to leave his ball where it was, under rule 11.1b, and he wasn’t penalized, thanks to rule 11.1a.
Green, though, had to move his ball back to his original lie, without penalty, according to rule 9.6. Here’s where it gets a little complicated. Green’s and Sharma’s golf balls would be almost touching — they already were pretty close — and the players, officials and on-course reporter had the following conversation, as picked up by Golf Channel mics, to determine the correct playing procedure:
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Official to Green: “It moved from here — which one’s your ball?” Green pointed at his ball with a club. 
Official: “That one, yeah? Moved from there to there?”
Green: “I think.” Green then asked the announcer: “Would that be right? That’s what you seen?”
Announcer: “The ball moved about two or three inches that way.” 
Green: “Yeah, that’s probably where it is.” He pointed at a spot with his club again.
Official: “So we can mark that spot. Give you a club length away.” He then asked Sharma: “Would you like to play first? Or would you like to mark yours, because we got to recreate the lie.” 
Sharma: “Either way, I’m fine. Yeah, whatever.” 
Official: “Whichever you want to do.” 
Green: “Doesn’t matter to me.” 
Official to Green: “OK, so if we mark that spot maybe a club length away, we can then rake that and then put your ball back. OK, see what I mean?”
Green did, and he dropped a tee where his ball originally was, then took a driver and dropped the tee at the end of the club. Notably, this sequence — where Green’s ball was never officially replaced; it was just marked — avoided another being rule activated. Rule 15.3b (2) states: “If a player reasonably believes that another player’s ball anywhere on the course might interfere with the player’s own play: The player may require the other player to mark the spot and lift the ball (see Rule 14.1), and the ball must not be cleaned (except when lifted from the putting green under Rule 13.1b) and must be replaced on its original spot (see Rule 14.2).”
Joked the announcer: “Well, I think they might have played this hole about two or three minutes quicker if I hadn’t opened my mouth.”
Sharma then hit. And one more rule went into effect.
According to rule 8.1d, Green was allowed to restore his lie, and his caddie raked where Sharma had hit. Green then dropped, and he hit his third shot. From there, each player missed their birdie putts — Green from 10 feet, and Sharma from 6 — and they parred. 
And about 25 minutes after they started the 8th, they walked to 9. 

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at and GOLF Magazine are published by EB GOLF MEDIA LLC, a division of 8AM GOLF


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