Rules behind Stadler's cactus drop at Waste Management Open

Kevin Stadler
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Kevin Stadler takes a drop ball on the 11th hole during the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 2, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
PGA Rules Committee

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Monday, February 03, 2014 | 12:17 p.m.

By Brad Gregory, Co-Chairman, PGA Rules Committee

During the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Kevin Stadler found himself in a sticky situation.

On the 11th hole, his tee shot ended up stuck to a cholla (pronounced choy-yah) cactus. Unable to play the ball Stadler decided to proceed under the ball unplayable Rule, incurring a one stroke penalty and drop a ball within two club-lengths of where the original ball lied in the cactus.

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The television announcers questioned whether Stadler had to retrieve the ball.

Rule 28 (Ball Unplayable) allows a player to substitute a ball no matter how easy or difficult it would be to retrieve the original ball. This was an exceptionally good thing for Stadler as those that play golf in the desert know “there is no joy-yah in cholla”.

Brad Gregory is a PGA Master Professional from Show Low, Arizona, and a Co-Chairman of the PGA Rules Committee.

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PGA Rules Committee