College golfer strips down, attempts to retrieve ball he accidentally dropped in water

David Wicks
A golfer from Jacksonville University went to extreme lengths -- stripped down and jumped into a pond -- to try and retrieve a ball he accidentally dropped on Wednesday. He didn't find it.
By T.J. Auclair
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Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 | 10:23 p.m.

The Rules of Golf can be something else, man.

Jacksonville University senior David Wicks learned that the hard way on Wednesday at the Baton Rouge Regional, when his team punched its ticket to the NCAA Championships for the first time in school history.


The day reached a tipping point on the fourth hole, the 13th hole of the day for David Wicks. The senior from Bexhill, England, picked up his ball after his first putt finished around three feet from the hole and placed it in his pocket. While waiting for the other golfers in his group to finish their putts, Wicks backed up towards the bunker, which has a lake just behind it. Wicks went to pull his scorecard out of his pocket, and as he reached for the card his ball fell out of his pocket, kicked off his shoe, and fell into the lake. NCAA rules state that a golfer must find their personal ball in order to continue the hole without any penalty. Wicks stripped down to his underwear and dove in with a five-minute time limit.

"David probably found 20 balls in the stretch of five minutes, but he never could find his," said Blackburn. "It was just a stroke of bad luck. After the five minute period ended the rules officials gave him a two-stroke penalty, which really could've hampered our comeback. But David rebounded, finishing the day with five straight pars to keep us in the race."

There was even video of the ordeal:

Now that's what you call taking one for the team.

Luckily the trip to the NCAAs was the silver lining for Wicks and his Dolphins teammates.

The 42nd-ranked Dolphins trailed by 10 strokes going into the final round, but won a sudden-death tiebreak playoff over No. 29 Northwestern for the fifth and final spot in the NCAA Championships.

A similar situation played out at the 2004 Players Championship.

Ian Poulter marked his ball on the fourth green at TPC Sawgrass and accidentally tossed it into the water behind him.

A trainer, Kam Bhabra, jumped into the water and was able to retrieve Poulter's ball.

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