NASSAU, Bahamas – Zach Johnson had just put the finishing touches on an opening-round 66 on Thursday at the Hero World Challenge when a familiar question cropped up.
Johnson’s approach at the 18th hole missed the green, and as he was preparing to play his third shot he tested the grain of the grass with his hand. According to the Rules of Golf, testing the surface is only a penalty when it occurs on the putting surface.
“I get called on that at least two or three times a year from television,” said Johnson, who was tied with Paul Casey and Jimmy Walker at 6 under par.
“The problem is the camera, the angle where it is, I can't go in front of my ball and test the surface in my line, but I was about a yard, yard and a half to the left and behind.”
That wasn't the only rules issue for Johnson on Thursday. He was originally penalized a stroke for marking his ball off the green at No. 3. The penalty was rescinded, however, when officials determined it wasn't possible on some holes to determine where the putting surface ended.