Westwood\‘s Unplayable Lie At No. 18


During the second round of the 2010 U.S. Open, Lee Westwood drove into a fairway bunker at the par-5 18th hole. Unfortunately, the ball was snuggled up against the tall fescue grass on the edge of the bunker. Lee asked his referee to explain his options under the Rules of Golf to get him out of his tangled mess.
Rule 28 is the Ball Unplayable Rule and it’s the only one that pertained to Westwood’s situation. Under a penalty of one stroke, Westwood had three different options to consider. Here they are:
a. Play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or
b. Drop a ball behind the point where the ball lay, keeping that point directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind that point the ball may be dropped; or
c. Drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole.
The catch in Westwood’s situation was that his ball was in a bunker. The Unplayable Ball Rule goes on to say that if your ball is in a bunker, when taking options B or C, the ball must remain in the bunker.
Westwood carefully weighed all his options and, after taking one penalty stroke, he chose to use option B to a spot which would allow him enough room to get the ball up and out of the bunker safely.
Westwood went on to make a bogey-6 on the hole.