Bizarre wrong golf ball incident ends up sending Tour pro home

Bizarre wrong golf ball incident ends up sending Tour pro home

Mackenzie Hughes in November during the RSM Classic.

Getty Images

One wrong flag and one wrong golf ball ended up costing Mackenzie Hughes one paycheck.  

After a bizarre incident involving a marshal, and in an unfortunate series of events, Hughes was hit with a two-stroke penalty after playing the wrong ball during Wednesday’s first round of the Farmers Insurance Open — and the damage ended up costing him a paycheck. After rounds of 70 and 72 at Torrey Pines, Hughes missed the cut for weekend play by a stroke. 

It all began after Hughes’ second shot on the par-5 9th on the North Course at Torrey Pines. According to Hughes, he walked up to a flag placed by a marshal that had marked a ball, hit to within a few feet and marked before his par putt — only to learn that that ball wasn’t his, and that his ball was a couple yards from the one he hit with his third shot.

The mishap was a violation of Rule 6.3c, and he was penalized the two strokes and played his ball. According to the rule, “In stroke play, the player must correct the mistake by continuing play with the original ball by playing it as it lies or taking relief under the Rules: The stroke made with the wrong ball and any more strokes before the mistake is corrected (including strokes made and any penalty strokes solely from playing that ball) do not count. If the player does not correct the mistake before making a stroke to begin another hole or, for the final hole of the round, before returning his or her scorecard, the player is disqualified.”

Hughes finished with a double-bogey seven, which also sparked a short back-and-forth between Hughes and a Twitter user. At 5:26 p.m. ET on Wedneday, @mmmumbles wrote: “Wow @MacHughesGolf just ruined a good day on #FarmersInsuranceOpen  with a double bogey 7 on his 18th, now -2 and T48..” To which Hughes explained what happened

“Well I hit my second shot on the par 5 9th short left of the green,” Hughes wrote at 7:55 p.m. on Wednesday. “I went to where it was marked with a flag and hit my chip to 6 feet. When I marked it I realized it wasn’t my ball. Turns out it was about 8 feet from where the flag was. Went from maybe 4 to 7 pretty quick.”

In another tweet, sent a few hours after he learned he missed the cut, Hughes did not fault the marshal. 

“Not the result I was looking for this week at one of my favorite places, but that’s golf sometimes,” he wrote. “Learned a lot and will be better for it. The wrong ball was unfortunate, but it’s the rule and my responsibility to check, not the marshals. Look forward to being back next year.”

Golf Magazine

Subscribe To The Magazine


Latest In Instruction

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at

Read more


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *