Collision Course

Even LPGA rules officials were stumped after two rolling balls collided on the green at a drivable par-4
Ryan French
Ryan French
September 11, 2023

Bailey Tardy stroked an eight-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole during the third round of the LPGA’s Kroger Queen City Classic on Saturday. As the ball rolled toward the hole, it was hit squarely by another ball and knocked offline. A tee shot at the par-4 hole had rolled onto the green. Some yelling, some tears and an eagle ensued. 

The 10th hole at Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati was playing around 290 yards. The course was fast and firm, and the downhill par-4 was reachable for most players. Tardy had missed the green but had chipped up and left herself a birdie attempt. 

Linnea Johansson was standing on the tee. I was caddying for Christina Kim, and in our group we waited for the green to clear. But according to people I talked with, the volunteers on the tee encouraged Johansson to hit. So as Tardy was about to putt, Johannson unleashed her drive.

 There is a mound about 50 yards short of the green, and if a ball hit on the downslope, it would bound toward the green. That’s what happened with Johansson’s ball. And that’s how it came to meet Tardy’s. If not for the friendly carom, players on the green believe Johansson’s ball would have rolled over the green. Instead, it stopped four feet away. (Think Andrew Magee at TPC Scottsdale in 2001.) Tardy’s ball ricocheted offline and ended nearly 10 feet away. 

Tardy was understandably upset, and when Johansson reached the green, she confronted her, yelling she should have waited and explaining what had happened. According to multiple people, the exchange became heated and ended with Johannson in tears.

 LPGA rules officials were called in, but they told Tardy they had never heard of such a situation. After a discussion, the rules committee decided that Tardy’s ball had been influenced by an outside agency and that she could attempt her birdie putt again. Johannson’s ball would remain where it stopped.

 Tardy replaced her ball and holed the putt, and after the group cleared, Johannson made her short eagle putt.

All’s well that ends well.

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