The Open: David Duval rues playing the wrong ball en route to a 14
By Keith Jackson at Royal Portrush
Last Updated: 18/07/19 10:05pm
David Duval paid a heavy price for playing the wrong ball as he ran up the highest score on one hole at an Open for 69 years.
Duval had made a great start at Royal Portrush as he birdied the opening two holes, but his fortunes began to change at the fifth when two lost balls contributed to a quadruple-bogey eight.
The 2001 champion dropped another shot at the sixth, but far worse was to follow on the par-five seventh, where three errant drives - his initial tee shot and two provisionals - found the rough and prompted frantic searching from the marshals.
The 47-year-old thought he had found the second of his extra drives and he gouged the ball back into play and finally got to the green, only for one of the caddies in his group to alert him that the ball he was playing with was not his.
Duval was handed a two-shot penalty and told to head back to the tee to start the hole again, and he eventually signed for a 13 after initially being scored an eight - then a 15 - by confused officials following his threeball. His score was then adjusted to a 14 when the R&A reviewed the incident.
The octuple-bogey was the highest score on an individual hole at The Open since Herman Tissie endured the humiliation of taking 15 shots to get down on the par-three Postage Stamp eighth hole at Royal Troon in 1950.
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He would go on to drop six more shots and carded a 19-over-par 90, which was later changed to a 91, and Duval described his adventures on the seventh as "a unique, but awful situation".
"I played almost the entirety of the hole, and it turns out with the wrong ball," he explained. "So then I had to go back to the tee, basically start the hole over. There was a two-stroke penalty because it was the wrong ball, and everything after that is null. Doesn't matter, the next shots don't count. I was up on the front of the green when we discovered it was the wrong ball.
"So I'm at fault. I didn't take a close enough look, so it's just my mistake. It was actually another caddie that came by and said, 'Are you playing a red 2 or a black 2?' I said, 'I'm playing an X', and those are the red ones, apparently. So he felt bad, but I was like, 'This is not your fault, it's mine'.
"And then ironically, four or five shots later I'm back in the same spot! Back in the front of the green, just off the front. It was fairly unsettling, obviously."
Duval also revealed he almost withdrew from The Open due to tendinitis in his left arm, but he vowed to play through the pain and complete his second round on Friday.
"I almost didn't play because the tendonitis in my left arm made it almost impossible to play," he added. "And then as the day progressed, because of some of the shots I had to hit, my arm got worse and worse. So it was just a downward spiral and it was a long day, rough day."
After his score was adjusted later in the day, the R&A tournament committee released a statement which read: "David lost his first two balls from the tee and then played a wrong ball for the third ball played from the tee. On discovering the mistake at the green he had to return to where the wrong ball was played but the correct ball could not be found.
"Therefore he had to play again from the tee for a fourth time under penalty of stroke and distance. He played six shots in completing the hole with the fourth ball from the tee. He incurred a two-shot penalty for playing the wrong ball, but the strokes played with the wrong ball do not count in his score (Rule 6.3c)."