'Never seen that': Golf world in disbelief over 'ridiculous' gaffe

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Jordan Spieth, pictured here hitting from the 17th tee box instead of the 9th.
Jordan Spieth hit from the 17th tee box instead of the 9th. Image: PGA

Golf fans and commentators were left perplexed on Sunday when Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson played from the wrong tee box at the Hero World Challenge.

While Spieth and Stenson thought they were hitting on the tee box for the ninth hole, they were actually on the 17th.

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To spice up the final round at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas, the PGA Tour moved the tee box forward on the par-5 ninth hole to allow more players a chance to reach the green in two. 

They used the original ninth tee for the par-3 17th so the hole would play a little shorter and over the water.

Both tee boxes had a large white sign indicating the hole, but Spieth and Stenson obviously didn't notice.

The pair were still none the wiser to their gaffe until an official tracked them down as they were walking down the fairway.

“We kept our heads down off the finishing out on hole No. 8 and walked to the 9 tee box that we did on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and put the ball down and hit some beautiful tee shots,” Stenson said. 

“Then when we went down to the balls, the rules official said, ‘Did you hit off the right tee box?’”

Had they finished the hole without having a chance to correct the error, they would have been disqualified.

Instead they were both handed two-stroke penalties and told to return to the correct tee box. 

It led to a triple-bogey eight for Spieth and a seven for Stenson.

“My question was if we could just finish 19th and 20th (place) and leave after nine,” Stenson said. “But that wasn’t an option, either.”

Jordan Spieth, pictured here in action during the final round of the Hero World Challenge.
Jordan Spieth in action during the final round of the Hero World Challenge. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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Spieth had a double bogey and a triple bogey on the back nine, along with four birdies for a 76 to finish in last place. 

Stenson shot 72 and was second last.

“I’ve never experienced that before,” Spieth said. 

“There was a sheet saying there was a new yardage on 17 but there was nothing about No.9.

“I actually didn’t think we were going to get penalised because it’s a charity event, but then I realised there’s world ranking involved and all that.

“I think the frustrating part for us now is that every other group ... they're making sure to tell them, but for us they didn’t. 

"It obviously didn’t matter for us, which is fortunate I think for those guys.”

Stenson added: “A little note on the tee box would have been helpful.”

Viktor Hovland emerged victorious after an extraordinary final round, with Collin Morikawa squandering a five-shot lead and the chance to become World No.1.

Hovland, who began the final round six shots off the pace, carded a closing 66 - which included back-to-back eagles on the 14th and 15th - to secure his third title of 2021.

The 24-year-old Norwegian, who successfully defended his Mayakoba Classic title last month, bogeyed the last two holes to finish 18-under par.

with agencies

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