Rules Court: Sean O'Hair and the Case of the Mystery Ball Mark

Rules Court: Sean O’Hair and the Case of the Mystery Ball Mark

Sean O'Hair at the 2006 Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Chris Condon/PGA TOUR/Getty Images


THE SCENE: 2006 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Pebble Beach, Calif.

THE CASE: On the fifth hole, O'Hair and his playing partners hit their tee shots onto the green. When O'Hair reached the ball that he thought he had played off the tee, it had markings he didn't recognize.

THE FACTS: While the ball was the model he had been using — a Titleist 2 — O'Hair says he was sure it wasn't his because of the markings. A rules official checked the other players' balls, and none of them were identified as O'Hair's. "There wasn't enough evidence that it wasn't my ball, but to this day I still don't know how it happened."

THE VERDICT: The official ruled that O'Hair should be given the benefit of the doubt due to the lack of evidence. If there had been proof that he played a wrong ball, he would've incurred a two-stroke penalty under Rule 15-3.

This article originally appeared in Golf Magazine. Click here for a 30-day free trial of Golf Magazine and our tablet edition.