MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Cameron Smith was assessed a two-stroke penalty for “improper placement of the ball” while taking relief on the fourth hole of Saturday’s third round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship, the PGA Tour announced Sunday.
Smith will begin the final round at 9 under, four shots behind leader J.J. Spaun.
“Prior to the start of the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship, Cameron Smith was assessed a two-stroke penalty for a breach of Rule 14.7 (playing the ball from the wrong place) on Hole No. 4 during the third round where he was operating under Rule 17.1 (when ball was in penalty area),” the PGA Tour said in a statement. “Smith’s score has been adjusted and he will begin the final round at 201 (-9).”
Golf Channel showed the shot on the final round tournament broadcast, showing Smith playing his ball on the red penalty line after a drop.
Statement on Cameron Smith ruling at FedEx St. Jude Championship pic.twitter.com/15P5i2FxM3
— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) August 14, 2022
“It looked like his ball was awfully close to the line, but we thought the player knew he couldn’t play a ball that wasn’t touching the penalty area,” PGA Tour’s chief referee Gary Young said on the Golf Channel broadcast. “We decided to take a second look at it and we thought it was close enough,” to then ask Smith about it.
Smith “said my ball was definitely touching the line,” Young continued. “He wasn’t aware no portion of the ball could touch the penalty line.”
Smith was told of the penalty while preparing for the final round on the TPC Southwind driving range and was “completely calm throughout”, Young said.
“Once (Cameron Smith) found out it was a two stroke penalty,” Young said. “he said the rules are the rules.”
Smith tees off in the final round at 1:30 p.m. ET Sunday with Tyler Duncan.