Prior to the 2018-’19 season, the Rules of Golf were “simplified,” making them much easier to understand for the average player. Yet still there’s plenty of confusion to be found in the rule book if you dig deep enough. Case in point: this odd rule Paul Casey nearly fell victim to at the Porsche European Open on Friday.
Facing an eight-foot putt, the Englishman stroked it and it broke slightly to the left but caught the edge of the hole and dropped. Nothing to see here, right? Well, Casey’s ball happened to roll right over a bug, which, as he explains in the video below, is an animal. According to Rule 11.2.b, if he knowingly hit the bug, he’d have to replay the stroke. Luckily, that strange language in the rule saved him:
Because Casey didn’t “knowingly” hit the animal (who would ever do this??), he avoided what would have been perhaps the weirdest rules controversy in recent memory. If you’d never heard of that rule before, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
It’s a good thing Casey didn’t purposely hit the bug, because that looked like a pretty tricky putt, one no one would want to do over after already draining hit. He went on to finish with a one-over 73 at Green Eagle Golf Course, which still put him near the top of the leader board thanks to a first-round 66. As it stands, he’s just a shot off the lead on Saturday morning, having played his first 10 holes in two under. As long as he avoids any more bugs, he’ll be in contention on Sunday.