Mark Hensby’s second PGA TOUR event in three and a half years, the Palmetto Championship in Congaree, was going well over eight holes of the first round until he noticed something wrong on his golf ball. It was a little point on his Titleist ProV1 that he had never seen before.
After bouncing off an early triple bogey with birdies on each of the first nine par-3s, he had just made a par on the eighth hole and was finished 2 when he noticed the gap.
“I asked my caddy, ‘Hey, what’s that dot on the ball? I’ve never noticed this before; have they done something with the new pro V1? ‘ Hensby told PGATOUR.COM. “And he didn’t know it, so I asked my playing partners and they said, ‘It’s a low spin ball.’ Now I don’t use that ball anymore so there was a lot of confusion as to where it came from – none of my others got the point – but we knew I had played the wrong ball.
The 49-year-old Australian, who before the February Puerto Rico Open had not played since the 2017 Sanderson Farms Championship, called up senior tournament referee Mike Peterson and received a two-stroke penalty for each hole in which he has used the ball under the Model G-4 Local Rule – sometimes known as the Rule of a Ball.
Hensby had unknowingly dropped the ball in play after hitting his third shot in the water at the fourth hole, meaning his bogey-birdie-par-birdie-par run became a triple bogey-bogey-double bogey -bogey-double bogey annihilation, pushing him to 12 plus. Although he was shaken by the news, he shot a respectable 1 of 36 in the back, leaving him a 13 of 84.
Without knowing it at the time, Hensby would later discover that the ball in question belonged to Pat Perez and was inadvertently traded while the two warmed up on the green.
“Somehow I picked up one of Pat’s balls and he ended up with one of mine,” he said. “I only found out because Titleist wanted to get to the bottom of it. I thought they had a bad bullet in the sleeve that I had.
“If you look at both balls it’s hard to tell the difference,” he continued. “It’s not like one is black and the other is red. They’re both black, but one has a little dot on it and the other doesn’t. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice it. I’m glad he didn’t use mine.
Prior to the rule changes in 2019, this type of offense was punishable by a maximum penalty of four strokes, but is now two strokes per hole. The purpose of the rule is to prevent a player from using balls with different playing characteristics depending on the nature of the hole or stroke to be played.
Russell Henley unknowingly violated the one-ball rule in the second round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic in 2019. He made the violation by signing autographs after the round, and after adding eight shots to his score, he passed. from contested to missing the cup.
Likewise, Hensby had no chance to play the weekend after the violation.
“For Mark, calling it himself says a lot about him and the integrity of the game,” said Ken Tackett, PGA TOUR Tournament Director.
The winner of the 2004 John Deere Classic was a late recall from the alternate list.
“I didn’t get on the field until Tuesday,” Hensby said, “and had driven a moving truck from Scottsdale to San Antonio 14 hours straight Sunday, so I was a little stiff. the plane on Wednesday night, I had to do a COVID test before my departure time, and there was a chance that if the results were delayed I would play solo at the back of the peloton but luckily these are past.
“I was actually playing pretty well,” he added. “I didn’t have the best start, but I birdied the par 3s on that stretch and had some good starts. I was just 2 years old at the time and was feeling pretty good with my bounce. But after receiving the penalty it was obviously difficult from then on, and it was a shame because I knew my tournament was over.
Hensby turns 50 on June 29 and as such is looking to refine his game for the PGA TOUR champions, where he hopes to play alongside other Australians of his generation like Rod Pampling, John Senden, Robert Allenby and Stuart. Appleby. Hensby qualified for the Senior US Open at the Omaha Country Club, July 7-11.
“I’m working hard to get my game back up there,” he said. “I look forward to the Senior US Open and Senior British Open and hope to achieve PGA TOUR champion status so that I can play more regularly again.”
Additional reporting by Cameron Morfit in Congaree.