NEW PROVIDENCE, Bahamas — The Hero World Challenge is supposed to be a stress-free week. There are only 20 players in the field, it takes place in paradise, and last place still pays $100,000.
Jordan Spieth, however, has managed to get himself into a couple rules imbroglios. Yes, plural.
On Saturday, Spieth failed to replace his ball after accidentally nudging it with his putter on the 18th green. Under the new 13.1(d), which went into effect in 2019, he wouldn’t have been penalized as long as he moved the ball back to his original position. But because he played it from the new spot, he was assessed a two-shot penalty. His par became a double bogey, and a one-over 73 became a three-over 75.
You’d think he’d be extra careful on Sunday, but the opposite is true. The three-time major winner went off in the first twosome alongside Henrik Stenson. He was even par for the day when he stepped to the ninth hole, a 600-plus-yard par 5 that has water all down the right. The ninth tee had been moved up a box today, and the tee for the par-3 17th had been moved to the box where the ninth tee was originally. Players were alerted of the change and the tee markers were facing the 17th hole, but Spieth and Stenson proceeded anyway.
They were alerted of their mistake while walking to their tee shots and headed back to the ninth tee to play from the right tee with a two-shot penalty. Had they finished the hole and teed off the 10th tee, they would’ve been disqualifed. Spieth wound up making a triple-bogey 8 and Stenson took a 7.
Spieth is the father to newborm Sammy, who’s not yet a month old, so you have to think his sleep has been compromised. We’re going to give him the benefit of the doubt and surmise that he’s dead tired and not thinking clearly. How else do you explain such a snafu?