Matthias Schwab mishit. And then things really got wild.
Journalists who became involved in the story they were covering? A rules official and a rule? A “wizardry” drop? Another rule? All were featured Thursday during the Players Championship first round. In the end, Schwab parred the 543-yard, par-5 2nd at TPC Sawgrass, but his path was from conventional.
Thanks to the PGA Tour’s social media team, we now know of this sequence:
— There was the mishit. It was a hook left. It was also the least unusual. Because from there:
— There were the journalists. Schwab’s ball bounced on the cart path — then settled into the back of the moving cart of three Sky Sport Austria reporters following him. A fan shouted for them to stop. They did.
“The ball jumped from the ground, got into our cart, and then it stayed right in here,” said Florian Bauer, one of the journalists. “And then when I looked at the ball, I know the mark, the signing of Matthias Schwab, and I go, ‘Hey, it’s Matthias’ ball.’
“So it was pretty funny.”
Indeed. Bauer and company then filmed … themselves.
“We covered everything live,” Bauer said, “so I called home immediately and said, ‘Hey, guys, we got a very funny story.’ so we were live-covering everything. And then Matthias came by, and we were joking a little bit.”
There was more.
— There were the rules official and the rule. The former walked up soon after Schwab had. Schwab pointed to his ball, which was still in the back of the cart.
“OK, my ball is in there,” he said. “And he was driving, and it …”
“Just do me a favor, and take a tee out of your pocket,” the official said. “Put it on the cart path, underneath the ball, OK.”
Schwab put a tee underneath the cart.
“Go ahead and lift the ball,” the official said.
Schwab lifted the ball.
“And move this cart out of the way, whosever it is,” the official said.
The cart was moved.
This was the first rule. The process is covered under 15.2a(2), entitled “relief when ball is in or on movable obstruction anywhere on course except putting green,” and it states: “The player may take free relief by lifting the ball, removing the movable obstruction and dropping the original ball or another ball in this relief area (see Rule 14.3).”
Speaking of the drop …
— There was the “wizardry” drop. That was the term given to it by David Barnett of the Tour Junkies website. He was nearby and also recording.
Schwab dropped on the slightly left-to-right sloping path, his ball bounced about a dozen times, then settled almost directly below his hand.
Said Barnett: “The craziest part of the Matthias Schwab drop on 2 was when he dropped it on the cart path on a downslope. It hits the ground, starts bouncing and then it comes to rest exactly where he dropped it. It was wizardry. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Said Bauer: “I mean, I’ve never seen a ball being dropped on a cart path and don’t run away. But it did. It stayed there.”
Said Schwab to Bauer on Sky Sport: “Probably if we would have tried this, we wouldn’t have made it in a million times.”
— There was the other rule. Schwab was given relief from the cart path, under rule 16.1a. He dropped to the left of the path, and he was about 40 yards out.
From there, he pitched to 9 feet and two-putted for a five.
And SkySport Austria and the PGA Tour had a video.
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