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19th Hole

Caddie’s bunker infraction proves ruinous at U.S. Amateur 



At the U.S. Amateur at Bandon Dunes a rare and cruel ruling on the final hole on Thursday evening put paid to Segundo Oliva Pinto’s chances in his last 16 match against Tyler Strafaci.

All tied up heading down the par 5 last, Oliva Pinto found the greenside bunker with his second shot. While assessing where to land his third shot, Oliva Pinto’s caddie, who is a local caddie from the resort, touched the sand with his hand which was deemed to have been testing the conditions of the bunker.

The local looper denied to rules officials that he touched the sand, despite the evidence proving otherwise.

Rule 12.1/a states that: before making a stroke at a ball in a bunker, a player must not deliberately touch sand in the bunker with a hand, club, rake or other object to test the condition of the sand to learn information for the next stroke. 

Unfortunately for Oliva Pinto, caddies are included in that rule, and the error in judgment proved fatal with the hole concession resulting in the end of the match.

Following the incident, Oliva Pinto was philosophical, saying: “What happened, happened”.

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito



  1. Ball Coach

    Aug 14, 2020 at 10:57 pm

    Strafaci’s dad didn’t come across too well either by yelling at the rules official (or was he yelling at his son’s opponent?). He then seemed to accuse his son’s opponent of talking to his caddie about the condition of the sand after his caddie tested it, as if the player was involved in the cheating. He was way too aggressive and should’ve kept his mouth shut.

  2. Mower

    Aug 14, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    “No, I don’t care what it shows on camera…I didn’t come close to the sand.”

    Aaand… liar.

  3. James

    Aug 14, 2020 at 7:56 pm

    Don’t ever hire a caddy who wears their hat backwards at the biggest amateur golf tournament in the world.


    • Speedy

      Aug 14, 2020 at 8:17 pm

      Yup, the kinda guy that lays on the horn when picking up your daughter or granddaughter.

      “Pow, to the moon!”

  4. Speedy

    Aug 14, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    Loopers at Bandon Dunes are usually good. Some have pro tour experience. That said, it can be risky with someone on the bag. I suggest that amateurs carry their own.

  5. Ben Storey

    Aug 14, 2020 at 4:17 pm

    Strange that no outlet has posted an interview with the caddie to get a more clear explanation. From what little we could hear, it was certainly likely that the Bandon looper was denying any wrongdoing, a particularly odd claim considering that there were people and cameras all around — even in the blimp right above his head. To be sure, a “professional” caddie should be extremely aware of the “no touching/testing sand” rule but it’s his remarks to the rules officials that are particularly grating. “I’m truly sorry that I tested the sand” is a major mistake but “No, I don’t care what it shows on camera…I didn’t come close to the sand” is, as clearly stated in earlier posts, a fireable offense.

  6. Roy

    Aug 14, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    “who is a local caddie from the resort, ” Don’t they mean “was”??

  7. JThunder

    Aug 14, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    First-day caddy? Did he think it was a practice round?

    I presume someone gave him the address of the unemployment office after the tournament?

  8. Ryan Barath

    Aug 14, 2020 at 10:20 am

    this person should never caddie again and i hope he paid for the flights/entry fee/hotel etc for the player

  9. Terry, this is not a game

    Aug 14, 2020 at 10:12 am

    If i was the player, i wouldn’t pay him for this and I probably would physically assault him…especially after he lied. What a bum.

  10. Brandon

    Aug 14, 2020 at 9:55 am

    I saw that live yesterday. Most bone headed move I’ve ever seen in a tournament. I’ve never play a round of competitive golf in my life and I’ve still know that rule since I was like 8 years old. It also sounded as if the caddie was trying to say he didn’t touch the sand when video clearly showed him rubbing it, but the audio wasn’t totally clear to hear his explanation.

  11. mike mulholland

    Aug 14, 2020 at 9:27 am

    bad look from the caddy denying it happened…

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19th Hole

The DailyWRX (9/22/2020): Tiger, JT lifting the left heel?



Rory’s distance is even more fascinating looking at this picture….

I love this! Bummed he’s leaving the USGA but stoked to play “hell day” at a Mike Davis track. 

At least 5…15….no more than 1,000.

I’ve been lifting my left heel all day. It’s off the ground as we speak. Typing speed went way up. Who knew?

Hi, Binny!

DM @johnny_wunder

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19th Hole

Rory McIlroy reveals his love for….Domino’s Pizza!?



The Payne’s Valley Cup on Tuesday provided plenty of entertaining moments, but one thing golf fans perhaps weren’t bargaining on hearing was a Rory McIlroy deep dive into his current favorite pizza joint.

While his partner Rose was preparing to putt, McIlroy revealed that he was on a ‘big Domino’s kick’ at the moment, and it elicited a pretty hilarious reaction from Justin Thomas.

The Ulsterman justified his choice by claiming that when you don’t know the good local spots, then Domino’s Pizza is ‘solid’. When asked by JT what toppings he goes for, McIlroy responded that his go-to order is the ‘Deluxe’, which according to google consists of ‘green peppers, black olives, and meats like pepperoni, ham, and Italian sausage.’

So there you have it, Rory McIlroy is a self-confessed lover of Domino’s Pizza!

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19th Hole

A hacker plays the big ones: Pt. 4



“A Hacker Plays The Big Ones” is a short story authored by Steven R. Roberts. The short story, written two months following the trip, tells the tale of Roberts and his friend, Bob Blackman’s, golf odyssey around Scotland in the 1970s where the two played four of most historic courses in the game: St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Muirfield and Gleneagles.

We have broken the short story into a four-parter and here is the final part.

Read Part 1 here.

Read Part 2 here.

Read Part 3 here.

The final day of competition was at Muirfield Golf Club near Scotland’s southern border. It’s officially known as the “Company of Honorable Gentlemen from Edinburg”, and it was the only private club we attempted to play. We arrived to find only one car in the parking lot.

“Could you direct us to the Pro Shop?” I asked the club secretary.

“Muirfield da noot hoov a pru ship,” (or a pro for that matter), he said. “Ya kin buy bells un tees if ya moost.” There you have the Scottish disdain for things commercial. There were no souvenir shirts, hats, gloves or bag tags for sale at Muirfield. One imagines any money prize awarded at the Open Championship to be held in 1980 will be slipped under the winner’s door in a plain white envelope.

Standing in front of the clubhouse, you can see across the rugged links course to the sea. Some 40 miles north across the Firth of Forth lies yesterday’s winner, St. Andrews, and another 40 miles north across the Tay River is the rugged Carnoustie.
Just a word about the course. Bob and I decided it would be tough on a calm day, but the gales blow off the sea without relief. Muirfield members say if there was a day without wind, they wouldn’t know what to lean against.

The rough is knee-high everywhere you look except for the thin strips of the fairways. Some players think there may be whole families living in the tall grass. Nicklaus used his driver only four times per round in winning in 1966. But as tough as the course was tee to green, the greens were tougher. On the third hole, my caddie, another of the weathered veteran survivors of the sea breezes, spent some time telling me exactly how my uphill 30-footer broke. I steadied myself over the ball and took a stroke which traveled to the crest of the break and stopped. As I took a step forward, the ball turned, slowly rolling back down the hill coming to rest at my feet. My caddie turned to look out at the sea. He didn’t bother to read my putts again for the rest of the round.
Moving on, the 17th hole, a 530-yard par 5, was going to provide an appropriate climactic stage for the finishing moments of the scheduled 1980 Open. Bob’s caddie advised that in some wind conditions the par five is reachable in two. On my second shot, I swung a three wood with both feet off the ground and was able to reach the front of the green. Bob got lucky and put his second shot within 100 feet from the pin. He two-putted for a birdie. I won’t bore you with the details, but I managed to sink a two-footer for my six.

Finishing off the round with two pars, we took some comfort in the fact that Gary Player took a double bogie six on the final hole to win the Open Championship in 1958.

We packed up our wet gear and said goodbye to four days of soaking in the adventure of Scottish golf. On the drive home that afternoon and evening, Bob and I played the “if only” game, a favorite of all golfers. This technique allowed us to imagine away five or six shots a round. Looking back over the four rounds, each course had the devil buried inside its character. Carnoustie was a weathered Scottish seaman’s face; Gleneagles was a soft, classy lassie with curves in the right places; St. Andrews was the ceremonial lord of the manor with understated British strength and style; and Muirfield was a wicked woman with her fringed skirt flapping in the breeze – aggravating because you suspect she’s easy for some but not for you.

We also distributed the prizes on the drive home. Bob beat me two rounds, and we tied for two, so he won ten pounds and six golf balls. He had six birdies during the week compared to my four, so Bandit Bob won another 40 pence. Luckily, he didn’t have any eagles or holes in one.

I was driving when we passed the Nottingham Forest exit about halfway home. I slowed down to let a sheriff’s car pass me in hot pursuit. I supposed he was looking for Robin Hood. The sheriff would be well advised, I thought, to check out the sandy-haired hood sitting in the dark, chuckling quietly in the passenger seat of my car.

I was also smiling. If Bob doesn’t play again for a week, he is going to have a real surprise. Before we loaded up at Muirfield, I found a city of termites under the woodwork in the hotel. I’d spent half the night collecting the squiggly little termite biters, and I was able to poke the putter shaft through the bag and slide it down the shaft, finally securing the bag to the shaft midway with tape. In a week Bob will find only a clubhead, grip and a pile of sawdust after the little beasties have a go at that tasty shaft.

But alas, Bob and I have had a week of living out a dream. We have walked the same fairways and greens that have been walked for centuries of golfers, from the founding fathers of the game to the stars of recent years. No other sport provides its fans such an opportunity to so closely assimilate the physical challenges of its major championships. The average amateur baseball player is not permitted to walk to the pitcher’s mound in Yankee Stadium and pitch three innings, and the weekend football nut cannot play running back at Heinz Field stadium facing the Pittsburgh Steelers. But we stood on the same spot on the 17th fairway at St. Andrews and faced the same wind off the Forth of Firth that has humbled the greats of the game for centuries. All the more is the hacker’s thrill if he somehow carries his ball over the trap and keeps it from bouncing over the green onto the road.

So, that’s my story from a week in the middle of October 1979. Having read this only slightly-exaggerated report on our trip, you are exempt from listening to my telling of the story in the event we run into each other at a cocktail party somewhere down the road. But if after a few drinks the conversation turns again to lifelong dreams, my answer will be the same. There are many more courses out there to be concurred. But, do me a favor. Bob is still raw over the mysterious pulverizing of his wooden shaft. If he’s around, just don’t say anything about another trip.

Author’s note: This story was originally written two months after the trip. I sent a copy to my former teammate at college and attached is a reproduction of his response. He finished second to Tom Watson at Muirfield in 1980. I should have been on the bag and helped him read those tricky greens

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