From The Players Championship on Friday, this is one of the more bizarre moments I've seen on a golf course lately: Michael Bradley, frustrated at a poor tee shot on the seventh hole, "dropped" (his words) his driver toward the turf. Problem is, drivers can bounce, and this one did, right into the water surrounding the tee box.
British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen was unable to reach the driver, which was floating in the water about eight feet below the tee box, so chippy fan Norman-Gerard Merizzi climbed right down and, after a few nervous moments (would he fall in? were there alligators nearby?) recovered the wayward driver. For his troubles, he received a signed glove from Bradley.
"I didn't realize that I was so close to the water," Bradley told Golfweek afterward. "When I dropped it, it kind of bounced, and I thought, 'Oh crap, what did I do?'"
Had the driver not been rescued, it would have made for an interesting rules debate of whether Bradley could get a replacement for the round. You can replace a club deemed unfit to play in the normal course of a round, provided you didn't damage it yourself. And obviously, a club in the water is unfit for play. But would that necessarily be construed as Bradley's fault? We'll never know.
Alas, while the driver was rescued, things didn't turn out so well for Bradley himself. He carded a triple-bogey 7 on that hole, the 16th he'd play that day, and ended up missing the cut by a single stroke.