THREE MINUTES MAX
I read with interest Mark O’Meara’s recollections of the incident on the 6th hole in the 3rd round of the Birkdale Open in 1998 in your Open issue.
I was standing with two friends adjacent to Mark when he pushed his second shot right of the green. Mark says he spent three minutes looking for it before returning to play another ball while leaving his caddie to look...
Doesn’t really sound like something a pro golfer would do, does it? Three minutes? Then go back? That’s because it DID NOT happen.
They were looking for the ball for at least five minutes, if not more, before he trudged dejectedly back towards us down the fairway. When he reached the point to replay the shot there was a fair amount of kerfuffle at the side of the green where it transpired a woman had picked his ball up. He returned and was allowed to place the ball and play on.
To this day, we have no idea why that ruling was given but we can guarantee it was WAY over the five mins when the ball was found. If there’s any real-time TV footage it will be there for all to see.
You can tell Mark is uneasy about it by the way he says we looked for three mins… Who on earth does that in a major!? Simon Goy, Southend