HAVEN, Wis. – Two rules officials would not be swayed.
In a tense match in Saturday morning Foursomes pitting Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger against Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, a rules situation unfolded to the right of the 15th fairway at Whistling Straits in the 43rd Ryder Cup.
With Rahm and Garcia 1 up, Berger’s drive ended up in a wasteland – just outside a bunker and surrounded by tall grass. But there was also a drainage channel leading out of the bunker. And considering the downslope and a sturdy, rocky ridge a foot in front of the ball, Berger and Koepka sought penalty-free relief.
Especially with Koepka worrying about reinjuring his left wrist, which he hurt during the third round of The Tour Championship when he struck a tree root with his swing.
The first rules officials denied relief, saying he didn’t think anything would get in the way of Koepka’s swing.
A rules lawyer inspects the lie of a ball for Daniel Berger of team United States and Brooks Koepka of team United States on the 15th hole during Saturday Morning Foursome Matches of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits on September 25, 2021 in Kohler, Wisconsin. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
“There’s no way,” David Price said.
Berger and Koepka thought otherwise.
“You realize it’s a downslope, right?” Koepka asked.
“You’ve seen me swing, right?” he also asked.
“How can you not say that’s man-made?” Berger said at one point.
“How can you think he won’t hit that?” he asked at another point.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen a player from another team stand over the other team’s golf ball.” – Jim “Bones” Mackay on @NBCSports
— Golf Channel PR (@GolfChannelPR) September 25, 2021
Garcia was in the discussion, as well, and was pleading on behalf of the Americans.
Koepka, with Berger in complete agreement, explained his swing path would result in him potentially hitting into the rocky ridge. But the first official would not budge, and a second official was called in.
He didn’t provide relief, either.
“If I break my wrist, it’s on you guys,” Koepka said.
After 10 minutes of back and forth, Koepka swung away and hit a solid shot onto the green from 190 yards away. The hole was tied.
Then Koepka showed that his club swung through the ridge. Thankfully, it wasn’t made of stone.