Pro mishits multiple shots, is hit with rules infraction, drops 64 spots

by | Mar 18, 2023 | Golfing

Brian Harman and rules official Orlando Pope on Friday on the 3rd hole on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort.

PGA Tour Live

Brian Harman kicked a little dirt on the tee box. On the par-4 3rd on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, his tee shot had found the right side of the fairway, but he appeared to have wanted a bit more. 

On strokes two, three, four, five, six and seven, Harman likely felt that way, too. 

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In a hairy sequence during Friday’s Valspar Championship second round, Harman mishit four straight shots, took a penalty stroke in between and dropped 64 spots down the leaderboard. His quadruple-bogey eight took him from one-under overall and a tie for 27th, to three-over, a tie for 91st, and an eventual missed cut. 

It included some of everything. After his tee shot: 

— Harman tried to draw an iron, from 210 yards out, into the green, but his ball caught the wind and fell short and into the right greenside bunker. He shouted, “Awwww, man.” He pounded his club. 

— Harman then thinned a wedge from the sand, and his ball rocketed over the green and near some folks seated in colored Adirondack chairs. His ball had been a few feet from the lip, on the left side of the bunker, and below his feet. After contact, Harman looked down immediately and walked out of the sand. 

“Not good when the spectators behind the green are taking evasive action,” an announcer said on the PGA Tour Live broadcast.  

— On stroke four, from about 20 yards out, Harman’s ball fell a few feet short of the green. He hadn’t had much space to work with.  

“I think right now he’s just trying to figure out how am I going to make a five because this is way harder than the bunker shot that he just had,” an announcer on the PGA Tour Live broadcast said ahead of the shot. “He’s kind of pitching down the slope. He’s only got four paces of green to work with. So he is staring double bogey in the face.” 

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“Or worse, if he tries to get really cute with this one, because I think the only way to get it even remotely close to the hole, he has to land it in that thicker rough short of the green,” another announcer said. “And it’s going to be landing back into the grain. I mean, you can see that grain going towards him. This could be all kinds of numbers. And at one-under, the cut’s going to be at one-over, so more than likely, he’ll be back on the cutline after this hole.”

— Stroke five was the penalty. 

Harman walked up to the ball. He tossed aside a leaf. He placed his wedge behind the ball. The ball moved. He stopped. He had an idea what had happened. One-stroke penalty, under 9.4b. Harman, with help from rules official Orlando Pope, then replaced the ball, under rule 9.4a.

Said an announcer on the PGA Tour Live broadcast on the replay of the sequence: “So he clears a leaf out, and now he’ll put the club down as a bit of a gander just to see what the lie is like. And there, see the ball just, ever so slightly, fell down and to the left, and it was because he put his club there.”

— On stroke six, from just off the green, Harman hit 20 feet past the hole. 

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Said an announcer on the PGA Tour Live broadcast ahead of the shot: “Yeah, it’s gone from bad to worse out here quickly for Brian Harman. This is when it’s really difficult as a player to really gather your composure and keep your mind in what you’re doing and hit a quality pitch shot.”

From there, Harman two-putted. He then parred the remaining six holes — he started on the back nine — and missed the cut by two shots. 

“Definitely wavering on the wrong side of emotions right now,” an announcer said on the PGA Tour Live broadcast.  

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

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 [email protected]

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