Retief Goosen was 2-up on Chris DiMarco when he sent his tee shot on the par-5 No. 8 at La Costa into a tree on the left side of the fairway.
Caddie Colin Byrne volunteered to try to retrieve it and got a boost into the tree from a couple of volunteers. After about five minutes of poking around with a club, Byrne dislodged a ball.
``It was a Titleist, but not mine,'' Goosen said after the match, which he lost, 2 and 1.
``You've got to take a chance,'' Goosen said. ``He said he wanted to go up. If there was a chance of finding it, why not?''
Goosen conceded the hole, figuring that if he took the penalty and went back to the tee, the best he could shoot would be a 6.
Byrne said going up the tree was ``one of the many duties of the job. You never know what's going to happen.
``I couldn't see anything up there,'' Byrne said.
Goosen will play the other semifinal loser, Ian Poulter, for third place on Sunday. Their 18-hole match will tee off just before DiMarco and David Toms begin the second 18 holes of their 36-hole championship match.
``Now, the wheels are a bit flat,'' Goosen said. ``It's going to be tough to come out tomorrow and try and put something in. But third place is better than fourth, so I'll give it my best shot.''
Third place is worth $560,000 and fourth place, $450,000.
DiMarco doesn't give a hoot if TV viewers are apathetic about a less-than-marquee matchup for the championship match.
``Eight million viewers or two viewers, I don't really care,'' he said. ``I know my parents will be watching. My wife, too. So there's three.''
The tee boxes on Nos. 3, 4 and 9 were back to normal as the course continued to dry out from heavy rain earlier in the week.
STARS & STRIPES
Chris DiMarco proved he can beat someone other than an American.
DiMarco beat Stewart Cink in the quarterfinals Saturday morning to become the first semifinalist in the seven-year history of the Match Play Championship to win four straight matches against Americans.
He beat Tim Herron in the first round, John Daly in the second round and Jay Haas in the third round.
In the semis, DiMarco rallied from 3-down after the first three holes to beat South Africa's Retief Goosen 2 and 1 to advance to Sunday's championship match against American David Toms, a 3-and-2 winner against England's Ian Poulter.
There was no thunder from Down Under in the Match Play Championship quarterfinals Saturday morning. Nick O'Hern, Adam Scott and Robert Allenby, the surviving three members of a contingent of 10 Aussies who started the tournament, all lost in the round of eight.
O'Hern, who beat Tiger Woods in the second round Friday morning, lost 3 and 1 to Ian Poulter. Scott was a 2-and-1 loser to David Toms, and Robert Allenby lost 4 and 3 to Retief Goosen.
LEFTY WINS THE LEFT COAST
Although he was eliminated in the third round of the Match Play Championship on Friday, Phil Mickelson still won the PGA Tour West Coast Swing and a $500,000 bonus.
Mickelson, who won the FBR Open and Pebble Beach back-to-back, entered the Match Play Championship in first place and one of eight players who had a chance to win or share the ``King of Swing'' title. The standings are based on top 10 finishes in the nine West Coast tournaments.
Adam Scott was the last player to have a chance at unseating Lefty, but he lost in the Match Play quarterfinals on Saturday to David Toms to finish second, earning $300,000. Scott had a nice little payday, as he also made $240,000 by making it to the quarters.
Tiger Woods, upset in the second round on Friday morning, finished third and won $200,000.
Mickelson also won the ``King of Swing'' in 1998 and 2004.
Adam Scott beat Trevor Immelman in the first round Thursday, then borrowed his caddie for the rest of the week at La Costa. Scott's regular caddie, Tony Navarro, had to leave Thursday night when he learned his mother was dying in Illinois.
Navarro is best known for his years working with Greg Norman.
POWER LINE RELOAD
Retief Goosen had to hit two tee shots on the 14th hole of his semifinal match against Chris DiMarco, although this was one of the few occasions in golf where penalty shots were not involved.
Power lines run across the 14th and 11th fairway, and a rules official is stationed in a cart to make sure tee shots do not hit them. Goosen's drive nicked the line, allowing him to reload.
He split the middle of the fairway on his next shot.