The golf gods can be a fickle bunch. One second they're helping you maneuver through a rough stretch of holes in a couple under par, and the next they're punishing you in the worst possible way. As we've all seen before, a golfer's luck can change in a matter of minutes.
Just ask Angela Stanford, who got jobbed in the worst way during the second round of the Women's British Open at Carnoustie. Standing on the tee just four shots back of the lead on the 18th hole, Stanford figured a par would be good enough to get her into one of the final groups on Saturday afternoon.
But when her drive went left and a marshal motioned to Stanford that the ball had gone out of bounds, things quickly changed. She went from being in contention to fighting for bogey, as she re-teed hitting her third shot.
There was just one problem: Stanford's ball wasn't out of bounds. As the ESPN cameras panned to her ball, it was actually sitting just under a metal rail, which was still in play. To make the situation even more confusing, a little girl tried to move the ball so Stanford would have a shot (side note: I wish a kid would do that for me).
When she walked up on her ball, an official from the R&A informed Stanford that the ball had been moved, and that it would have to be replaced. And oh, by the way, her first ball was actually still in play.
It seemed like the perfect situation, until the official informed Stanford that because she didn't let the group know she was hitting a provisional, she would have to play her second ball. Long story short, she was penalized for someone else's mistake.
We talk about golf rules that need to be revised all the time. This is certainly one that should be looked at. If a marshal calls the ball out of bounds and it ends up being in, the player should have the option to play the first ball.
But she never had the option. Stanford went on to make double-bogey and finish at 4-under for the tournament, seven shots back of the lead. Talk about a cruel finish to a round of golf.
- Angela Stanford