European Tour player plays first hole in sneakers after arriving late

Sweden's Joel Sjoholm
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Sweden's Joel Sjoholm played his first hole in the European Tour's Hong Kong Open in sneakers on Thursday after arriving at the course just in time for his scheduled tee off.
By T.J. Auclair, Senior Interactive Producer
PGA.com
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Series: Golf Buzz

The European Tour is in China this week for the Hong Kong Open. For most who play that tour, it sure is a long way to travel. Therefore, jetlag is no surprise.

But, what happened Thursday morning isn't something you see very often in professional golf -- one player was disqualified for showing up late for his tee time, while another got there just in the nick of time and was forced to play the first hole in his sneakers.

Let's start with the unfortunate DQ of Finland's Joonas Granberg. According to a SkySports.com report (found by Golf Channel's Ryan Lavner), Granberg was disqualified when he showed up to the wrong tee box for a scheduled 11:50 a.m. local time tee off. Granberg went to the first tee, but oddly, was meant to tee off on the 11th hole.

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The 26-year-old ran to No. 11 only to see that his caddie wasn't there. The caddie had gone to the 10th tee -- the more usual starting place for a two-tee start. When the caddie couldn't get to the 11th tee in time, Granberg was disqualified.

Then there was Sweden's Joel Sjoholm, who arrived at the course for his tee time with no time to spare.

"I set six alarm clocks this morning and woke up in desperation at 7:58 a.m., tee time was 8:30 a.m. and we live a good 25 minutes from here so I was panicking to the tee box," Sjoholm told European Tour Radio, according to the Sky report.

Sjoholm was lucky to snag a quick taxi. That got him to the course, but not with enough time to go to the locker room to change from sneakers into his golf shoes.

"They went to the locker for me and I played the first hole in sneakers until I came up to the green when they were standing nicely there with two pairs of shoes so I could pick," he said. "It was the royal treatment!

"It felt quite awkward and when I was standing over the first tee shot I realized I hadn't even tied the laces on my sneakers, which are a half size too big as well."

As expected, the day only got better for Sjoholm after nearly missing out on the tournament. He shot a 2-under 68 and was four shots off the pace.

"I am happy I shot minus two -- I should not even be here," he said in the report. "I am really happy at the moment. Maybe I should do it more often because it's a long time since I started that good."

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.