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'Freak' incident costs McDowell
Graeme McDowell has joined the long list of players to fall foul of golf's rules.
A two-stroke penalty turned the Ryder Cup hero's closing six into a triple bogey eight as he started the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth with a disappointing 74. McDowell's drive was leaked into the trees and as he went to weigh up his options for his second shot, the ball moved.
"I was standing probably from here to you," the Northern Irishman said, indicating a distance of some six feet. "I'm not sure what I could have done, but I felt something was wrong - the whole area felt like it was just kind of bouncing."
After the incident was reviewed on television - he had asked for that - he was judged to have caused the ball to move, even by only a fraction, and so that was a one-shot penalty. But McDowell did not then replace it into his original position before chipping out - and that added one more to his score.
"How are you supposed to attempt to place the ball when you're not sure it's moved in the first place? It's just a harsh one - one of those freak scenarios in golf.
"It's my fault. I probably should have called in a referee. The rules of golf are very precise and very in-depth and it's impossible to know every idiosyncrasy of them.
"I've cost myself a shot there by getting a little careless. Once the ref is there we are protected because we can't do anything wrong at that point - even if he gives you a wrong ruling it's correct because he's told you to do it.
"There's cameras around and so many strange little fiddly rules that we are all so damned scared to take relief. It ends up slowing the pace of play down because you have to call a ref and he might be 10 minutes away."