S.Y. Noh replacing his driver during the first round
PGA Tour Live
It’s not very often a pro will break a club while shooting a course record, but for S.Y. (Seung-yul) Noh he didn’t break his driver on purpose, although we can’t say the same for the course record-tying 11-under 60 he shot at TPC Craig Ranch during the first round of the AT&T Byron Nelson.
The incident occurred on the 12th hole when after two wayward drives in a row Noh examined the face of his driver for a crack, and it was determined by both him, his caddie and a PGA Tour rules official that the face of his driver had indeed cracked during play and could be replaced. “When I hit (my drive) on 12, I was swinging so nicely, but it was like 70 yards right. So I just look at the driver and it got a crack in it.”, — S.Y. Noh.
Now if a player breaks a club on purpose in any way including bending the shaft, the club must be taken out of play and can’t be used for the rest of the round, but because the S.Y’s driver face cracked under normal playing conditions and during the course of hitting a shot, he was able to replace the driver during the round, according to rule 4.1a(2) in the rules book.
After the round when asked about his driver breaking while playing so well, S.Y. said “You know, just everything was going amazing. Like not perfect, it’s going amazing. Off the tee, I missed two drives because of the crack in the driver head. Except for two shots off the tee through the green, everything was going perfectly today. I’m really happy for my career low on the PGA Tour, one shot missed to 59, but I’m really happy with that.”
This is where adjustable drivers provide a huge benefit to players, because he was able to have someone retrieve a backup and simply replace the head on the existing shaft in the same configuration before continuing play, which is exactly what happened on the 16th hole when his backup driver arrived, and the rest is now in the record books.
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Ryan Barath is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s senior editor for equipment. He has an extensive club-fitting and -building background with more than 20 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. Before joining the staff, he was the lead content strategist for Tour Experience Golf, in Toronto, Canada.
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