Clever rules of play allow pros to hit from a nearby lane – after burying the tee in the sand

Keegan Bradley on Friday at the 15th hole at Congaree Golf Club.

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Keegan Bradley, buried in the sand, dug himself a book on the rules.

And how bad is his ball shape?

“He had one of the worst lies I’ve ever seen – he was hooked up to dugout and faced a fescue,” said track analyst, Smylie Kaufman on the Golf Channel.

Bradleythough, didn’t hit from there during Friday’s second round of CJ Cup. Or sand at all after the tee ball at Bar 4 15 at Congaree Golf Club. In fact, he took his next shot off the fairway. Here’s how.

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In Congaree, while there is more sand than the beach, there are no bunkers. This is important, and Bradley knew it. Instead, all sand is considered a waste area, and golf rules treat it as part of the general area. It is here where you may remember perhaps the most memorable incident involving this distinction – In the 2010 PGA Championshipall the sandy areas of Whistling Straits in Wisconsin were treated as bunkers, Dustin Johnson thought some of the sand wasn’t, and after grounding his club, he took a penalty kick as he advanced down the 72nd hole.

In Bradley’s case, the rating opened up an option that wasn’t available to him.

With no shot left, Bradley was taking an unplayable penalty kick and going down. If it was in a basement According to Rule 19.3Here are his options:

“The player decides that his ball in the bunker is not playable. The player has four options: 1) for one penalty kick, the player can go out of the hit and space; 2) for one penalty kick, the player may take a break on the line in the bunker; 3) for a penalty kick One, a player may take a side rest in the bunker; 4) For a total of two penalties, a player may take a break on the line out of the bunker based on a reference line retracting directly from the hole through the spot of the original ball.”

Essentially, if the sand was a bunker, and Bradley wanted to completely get out through a non-playable game, he would have to either retake the previous shot, or take two penalties and drop him under relief back on the line.

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But since the sand was considered part of the general area, Bradley was instead able to continue Rule 19.2 – “Relief options for the unplayable ball in the general area or in the putting green.” Here’s how he survived the sand perfectly.

While his ball was in a tricky spot, it was only feet to the left of the fairway.

So, he took a side break – two club lengths on the right, one penalty kick – and fell on the grass.

“What he decided to do was take a non-playable piece and get it out of the sand, and I think he’s able to do this week because it’s not a bunker,” Kaufman said on the radio broadcast.

“That’s exactly why he was able to put the ball back into the lane – a penalty kick, an unplayable lie,” analyst Kurt Byrom said on the telecast. “But you see what a bunker looks like there, they really thought about it — it just rolls in sandy areas, these natural areas. So they all call it a normal sandy area instead of a bunker.”

From there, playing his third shot, Bradley hit up 10 feet, even though he missed the ball.

“This was a smart decision to use the rules to your advantage and get out of that vault,” Kaufman said on the broadcast.

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Nick Piastovsky

Nick Piastovsky Editor

Nick Piastovsky is a senior editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native will probably play the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash down his score. You can reach him about any of these topics – his stories, his game, or his beer – at

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