(Reuters) – Englishman Tyrrell Hatton was eliminated from the WGC-Dell Match Play after incurring a two-stroke penalty in his three-man playoff in Texas on Friday.
Hatton was preparing to tap-in for par at the first extra hole when he noticed his ball had moved slightly after he had placed his putter behind it at Austin Country Club.
But rather than replacing his ball to its original position or waiting to clarify with an official, and thus avoiding a penalty, he holed out without doing so.
Rules official Steve Carmen was watching on from nearby as Hatton was talking to his fellow competitors but by time he got to the green the damage had been done.
“What happened was he placed his putter behind the ball and caused the ball to move and then he putted from the new position,” Carmen told Golf Channel.
“We have a local rule in effect that if it’s an accidental movement on the putting green you can replace the ball (but) he didn’t replace the ball so he’s played from the wrong place, so there’s a two-shot penalty.”
Carmen said he could have saved Hatton from the penalty if the player had waited to confer on the matter.
Hatton was in a three-way playoff with American Charles Howell III and Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello for the right to advance to the round-of-16 knockout phase of the event.
The trio were forced into a playoff after finishing the group stage with two wins and one loss each from three matches.
Howell won the playoff at the fifth extra hole.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina)