As we all know, golf balls find the darndest places.
Mine have been stuck in trees, fallen into gopher holes, snuggled up to baby alligators and generally gone astray. But in the last six weeks, I've witnessed two of the wildest scenarios ever: one in person and one on TV.
If you're an avid PGA Tour watcher like me, you probably saw the improbable landing spot of Brooks Koepka's tee shot during round 2 of the Farmer's Insurance Open: a shoe in the back of a golf cart.
What are the odds?
Koepka made par after a drop. No big deal, right? Not compared to the dicey situation my foursome experienced about a month ago at DeLaveaga Golf Course in Santa Cruz, Calif.
The first hole is a narrow par 5 with dense woods on the right and a line of large trees protecting the main entry way, Upper Park Road, on the left. I specifically waited for the traffic to clear before teeing off.
Not my friend, who hooked his drive into the trees as a pickup truck drove past. By the time we started walking up the first fairway, the pickup truck had circled back and pulled up to us. The driver rolled down his window and asked, "Which one of you guys hit my truck?"
My mind went racing. Uh oh. Here we go.
My buddy started apologizing as the driver jumped out. He was big, really big. Fortunately for us, he was also in a good mood, fresh off a round of disc golf at the park.
"Somehow, it landed in my truck bed," he said. He fetched the ball, tossed it back and drove off without a hint of anger or disdain.
We were all gobsmacked by the whole ordeal. The guy turned his truck around just to give us the ball back? He could have punched our lights out or demanded some payment for damage.
If he had kept on driving, my friend could have staked a claim for the longest drive in the history of golf. Well, sort of. DeLaveaga's scorecard clearly states that "During play of holes 1, 4, 6, 10, 11, 13 and 18, the course side edge of the round poles along the main entrance road is out of bounds".
Since we always play by casual rules, my friend simply dropped the ball where it had crossed into the road and played on with a penalty stroke. If the road hadn't been deemed out-of-bounds and this occurred during a tournament round, the ruling would have been much more complicated, according to the Northern California Golf Association.
If the road is treated as in immovable obstruction on the course, then Exception 1 to Rule 11.1b also applies and the player needs to give the ball a "home" on the golf course by dropping a ball in a one club-length relief area based on where the ball first came to rest in the truck (moving outside influence), no nearer the hole. The Rules don't necessarily contemplate this situation of having to drop a ball onto an active roadway, so if the player does not intend to play the ball from off the roadway (which would be allowed if the Tournament Committee has not designated it as out of bounds), it would be reasonable for safety purposes to estimate the position of the relief area to accordingly estimate the nearest point of complete relief from the road (which might be on the other side of it) (see Rule 20.3). This is one reason why, absent a good reason not to do so, the Committee generally should declare such a roadway to be out of bounds.
Man, this game can get wacky sometimes. Golf balls seem to have a mind of their own.
What's the weirdest place your ball has landed? Let us know in the comments.