Rick Garboski was enjoying his time at the Hoag Classic on the PGA Tour Champions, so much so that he was happily offering up souvenirs for young fans who were watching him practice.
A Monday qualifier and local pro making his Champions debut, Garboski was playing with veteran Mark Calcavecchia during Saturday’s round when he dropped two in the drink at Newport Beach Country Club.
That’s when he went into his bag only to realize he’d given away a few too many keepsakes — it was empty.
Assuming his first PGA Tour Champions start was destined for a DQ, Garboski shook the hands of his playing partners and awaited his fate.
However, a rules official said organizers could dispatch someone to his locker to retrieve more balls. A penalty resulted for playing a different ball, and then another came as he was held back a group.
Calcavecchia said on Twitter it was the first time he’d seen anything like it. Garboski called it a “total rookie move.”
Garboski finished the round, carding an ugly 80, but rallied on Sunday with a 74 to finish one spot out of last — ahead of Calcavecchia.
“It’s an unfortunate error, and I’m going to laugh about it,” Garboski said. “I’m just so thankful that the Tour officials here figured out a way for me to actually finish. I didn’t mind the penalties, because I just wanted to be able to play.”
Here’s how reacted to the penalty.
Here was the statement from the PGA Tour Champions Rules Committee:
“Rick Garboski hit his third shot in the penalty area on the par-3 fourth hole during Round 2 of the Hoag Classic and was unable to retrieve his ball. He realized that he had no more balls of the same brand and model as used at the start of his round to satisfy the One Ball Rule that was in effect. Garboski asked for a ruling and acquired another brand/model of ball to complete the fourth hole. The Rules Official clarified that Garboski would receive the general penalty for a breach of the One Ball Rule during play of the fourth hole and needed to play the brand/model of ball used at the start of his round from the next teeing area to avoid being disqualified. Garboski had balls of the same brand/model available off the course and they were immediately brought to him while he completed the fourth hole. Unfortunately, Garboski had to unreasonably delay play from the fifth tee for a short period of time while the balls arrived and was assessed a further one-stroke penalty under Rule 5.6a. Rather than delay the other two players in Garboski’s original group, a Rules Official gave approval for him to wait for and then join the group of two players playing immediately behind him to complete the remainder of the round.”