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A golf-hole gadget in place due to the coronavirus pandemic cost Jordan Spieth a hole-in-one on Thursday.
Playing in a charity event at his home course, Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas, Spieth saw his tee shot hit the "spacer" placed inside the cup on the 17th green and bounce away into a water hazard.
Plastic spacers are being utilized at many golf courses to keep players from having to reach deep into cups to retrieve their golf balls during the period of social distancing.
Spieth said he intended to count the 110-yard, pitching-wedge shot as an ace despite the ball's ultimate resting place.
"My partner was already on the green, about 12 feet, so I said, 'I may as well go right at it, right?'" Spieth said. "It never left the stick and I knew it was going to land somewhere around the hole, and sure enough it landed in the hole.
"It was my first (ace) in probably three or four years. I had a nice little three- or four-year stretch where I had a lot, and then I've been shut out for a while, so hopefully that's a good omen."
Spieth was competing in the Maridoe Samaritan Fund Invitational, a 54-hole event designed to raise money for the course's caddies, who have lost work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an attempt to maintain social distancing, no fans were present, caddies weren't utilized, rakes weren't available in bunkers, and flagsticks remained in the cups.
Scottie Scheffler, a PGA Tour rookie who won twice on the second-tier Korn Ferry Tour last year, emerged as the champion against a field that also included former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
The matter of whether Spieth's shot counted as a hole-in-one or not was moot, as Spieth wasn't keeping score. The three-time major winner had missed the previous two rounds of the tournament due to other commitments.
"I was pumped to be out here today," Spieth said. "I really hope we're able to do something like this maybe next month, too, as we start to gear up for the season."
The PGA Tour, which shut down in mid-March due to the pandemic, plans to restart its season June 11-14 with the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. No fans will be allowed at that event and the next three on the tour's schedule.