Now and again, a professional golfer will be penalized for carrying too many clubs. The typical story is that a golfer is trying a new club while practicing for his or her upcoming round and puts it in the bag. Then, when it comes time to go to the tee, the golfer and caddy both forget about the extra club. This happened with Ian Woosnam at the 2001 Open Championship, derailing what was a realistic chance at a win after one hole on Sunday.
Tour pro, Mark Hubbard, though took things to a different level.
Hubbard was struggling through the Cadence Bank Houston Open. He shot a 75 (+5) in the first round. When making the turn during the second round, he was three-over for the day and eight-over for the tournament. Then Hubbard, who was struggling with his driver through the first 27 holes, brought a new driver into the bag and carried it for the remainder of the round. That’s not allowed.
The PGA Tour announced that Hubbard had been disqualified, saying “Hubbard knowingly added a 15th club at the turn and used the club several times without declaring it out of play.”
Mark Hubbard is a DQ after the second round of the Cadence Bank Houston Open due to a violation of Rule 4.1c.
Hubbard knowingly added a 15th club at the turn and used the club several times without declaring it out of play.
— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) November 11, 2022
While plenty of observers found Hubbard’s situation amusing, there wasn’t a lot of sympathy for him.
Lmao that’s hilarious https://t.co/x5jEIHPCpi
— 🅱️🅾️🅱️ (@BacknineBobby) November 11, 2022
Golf is a game of integrity.
Hubbard “knowingly” adding a 15th club should yield a penalty more than just the DQ. https://t.co/7PjAjPci2C
—Robert (@rhybki) November 11, 2022
🤔….. this is flat out cheating? https://t.co/vrLViljVLP
— Dick fulchers lad (@Fooch1993) November 11, 2022
—Jeff (@jeffmcg88) November 11, 2022
From a tour official:
“He said he started with a Callaway driver that wasn’t spinning enough….missing a lot of fairways. So, thinking it would be a 2-stroke penalty for each use of a different driver, he “knowingly” switched to a Ping driver at the turn.
My man went full YOLO. https://t.co/kA6ri6iiGB
— Dan Rapaport (@Daniel_Rapaport) November 11, 2022
Joel Beall of Golf Digest noted that Hubbard thought he “would only receive a two-shot penalty.” He was wrong. Regardless of whether he thought it would be two shots or two shots every time he used the extra club, he was wrong.
If Hubbard did this unknowingly, he would have been penalized two shots for every hole played with the extra club in the bag. Woosnam was penalized two shots in his aforementioned incident because he caught the mistake before starting the second hole. If he had teed off, he would have been a four-shot penalty.
While Hubbard definitely earned his disqualification, it doesn’t seem as though Hubbard was trying to get away with anything. He likely realized that he wasn’t making the cut anyway and decided to try a new driver out, despite what he knew would be a big penalty. A cheater is someone who bends the rules trying to get an advantage. If Hubbard knew a penalty was coming, he wasn’t trying to bend the rules.
It’s also worth noting that even without any penalties, Hubbard missed the cut. So, unless further discipline (in the form of a suspension or fine) comes his way, this infraction wouldn’t have made much of a difference.
Still, he probably wants to brush up on the rules.
[Golf Digest, PGA Tour Communications on Twitter]
Related: Mark Hubbard’s club-dropping, “That’s embarrassing” tee shot wound up as a hole-in-one