What’s in a little tattoo, yeah?
Well, there could be a two-stroke penalty if you are in the middle of an international golf competition.
It cost Sam Bennett – kind of – when the Texas A&M Senior played the first hole of his final round on Saturday at Spirit International at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity, Texas. As a representative of Team USA, Bennett reached into his pocket and looked for his 60 degree wedge. And when he did, he found more than he expected, namely a 58-degree wedge that didn’t belong to him.
How did it get there? The offensive wedge belonged to teammate Rachel Heck, who set the bat down next to the bag while she applied American flag face tattoos to Bennett and teammate James Piot. The club was accidentally put in Bennett’s pocket as the players dispersed.
The extra wedge represented a 15th bat in Bennett’s pocket, and that’s trouble … trouble with a “T” and that rhymes with “P” and that stands for “Penalty” under rule 4.1b.
Bennett was tattooed with a two-stroke comeup dance for the injury and instead of leaving hole # 1 with a par-4, he received a double bogey-6. It turned out that everything that started bad for Bennett was good. The amateur in 6th place in the World Amateur Golf Rankings responded with seven birdies on his next 14 holes and carded 3 under par 69 in the last round to win the men’s individual title.
Bennett’s 6-under par (73-68-69-210) ousted Boise State senior Huge Townsend, who represented Sweden, with two strokes. “I told myself to be patient and only get par 5 because you have two par 5s on this course and I could,” Bennett told Amateurgolf.com. “And then I was gone and ran.”
The penalty couldn’t stop Bennett, but it was expensive from the team’s point of view. Sweden won the men’s team title with 3 under par, a stroke better than Team USA. Remove the headstrong wedge and penalty for Bennett, the US finish 4-under instead of 2-under and win the team category too. However, the US won four of the five gold medals.
Oddly enough, women’s individual winner Rose Zhang also had a problem with a wedge on her final lap – that is, she didn’t have one. At the first tee, Zhang discovered that she had left her pitching wedge on the practice green. But after a hectic scramble, the missing bat was recovered. There is no penalty for adding a club during a round within the 14 club limit.
Zhang went on to shoot a ’69 final round, the only player in the field to have three rounds in the ’60s. The US overtook the women’s overall title with a score of 12 and won the overall team title with a dominant cumulative score of 28 below. Canada was second, 21 shots back.
To put it another way, it would have taken 10 more penalties for too many clubs in the bag to give up Team USA to give up the lead. That’s a lot of tattoos.