Zach Johnson, a Masters champion and still a top-100 player in the world, did something that you literally You could have done it yourself at the Augusta National hole on Thursday:
Johnson was about to play the 13th hole on the 13th hole of Augusta, breaking through Amen Corner as he has done about 100 times before. (He played in all the Masters since 2005 and won in 2007, along with dozens of unanswered practice rounds). He threw himself into what he probably figured was a standard practice swing, but he had an incorrect alignment and hit the ball with his toe. Driver, turning it off the wood marker at the start of the 510 yard hole.
Take a look at the trajectory in that firecracker:
He did not count, because apparently Johnson was not trying to hit the ball
He aligned the head of his stick well to the left of where the ball was, or at least thought he had done it, indicating that he did not intend to hit the ball with his practice swing.
If the ball is not already in play, there is no penalty for just lifting it, replacing it and playing your stroke as planned in that circumstance. If Johnson had accidentally hit the ball once it was already on the street, for example, that would have been a different story. He would have had to play alone, or replace it with a penalty of one stroke, according to the Rules of Golf.
He proceeded to birdie the hole, because sometimes, the ball lies.
After Johnson returned, he stroked a 285-yard run down the left side of the street, with exactly the kind of smooth flight that the ball draws on the 13th hole. That left him 196 yards to the pin, and he took out an iron at 30 feet, then put two of his four in par 5.
He moved it 1-over during the week, still on the side of contention.
So, while Johnson's momentum will not be counted in the record books, hopefully it will never escape the annals of history.
For a brief moment, we could all see a Masters champion play Augusta with exactly the level of competition we I would play Augusta. Never let us forget it.
This has happened to you before?
In fact, it has happened to me, more or less. The difference between Johnson's episode and mine is that I was not practicing the swing.
A few years ago, I was pulling the second hole of par 4 on Mt. Lebanon Golf Course near Pittsburgh, a nine hole course just minutes from my house. I was playing with the white tees or the blue tees, so there were some tee-markers games in front of me.
I finished the ball with my driver and also cut it enough to run forward and to the left. (I'm left-handed). It bounced off the thing and flew towards me, and I had to duck to avoid behead with a bad golf hit. I lost the ball because it flew into a backyard behind me, and I was not in the mood to climb the fence. But I kept my skull.
Hit me with you Golf shooting horror stories in the comments.