PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Billy Horschel shot a 2-under 70 in the second round of The Players Championship, but his score would have been even better had he not incurred an unusual penalty in the middle of his round.
Horschel had hit his approach shot onto the cart path of the par-5 ninth hole Friday afternoon when tournament officials blew the horn to suspend play because of inclement weather. According to Horschel, while he wanted to take relief from the path before the delay, he decided to do so once play resumed after consulting with rules official John Lillbis.
It was once Horschel returned to the course after the two-hour delay that the infraction occurred.
“I was taking relief from the cart path, there was a metal fence just like that one over there, looked pretty movable to me, and the very end of it was just in my line, not really, but could have been,” Horschel said. “And the guy asked me, ‘What, do you want it moved?’ And I said, ‘Take everything down by the green, the ropes and everything. You can just move the fence a little bit to the right. And that’s what he did.”
The fence, which was in place for crowd support, was able to be moved. But because the fence pieces interlock with one another, the Tour has listed them as temporary immovable obstructions (TIO) among the local rules on the “hard card” provided to players.
“Coming back, I had walked up and he had already moved the fence out of the way,” Lillbis explained. “So I sat there and I go, ‘Where did the fence go?’ And he says, ‘Well, I moved it.’”
The penalty for moving a TIO, as Horschel quickly discovered, is two shots, turning his bogey on the hole into a triple-bogey 8.
“It was my own fault. I know the rules pretty well out here, probably one of the, I feel like, for a majority of guys out here, I know them really well and I know what the procedures are,” Horschel said. “But obviously it’s on the hard card that that’s a TIO and, like I said, I didn’t think it was immovable obstruction because it looked pretty movable to me.”