Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie was the subject of a controversial Rules incident in 2005 that still simmers over a decade later.
Montgomerie put his approach shot to the green into a greenside bunker. The ball was near the edge of a deep bunker; it seemed that his only possible stance was to have one foot in the bunker and the other out. Meanwhile, the weather had been worsening and realising that a horn was about to be sounded suspending play, due to potentially dangerous lightning, he left his ball in the bunker and walked off the course. The following day, on the resumption of play, Montgomerie’s ball was no longer in the bunker.
Rule 6-8d(iii) came into play; play needed to be resumed from where it was discontinued. The player must, either before or when play is resumed, proceed as follows: (iii) if the player’s ball or ball-marker is moved (including by wind or water) while play is discontinued, a ball or ball-marker must be placed on the spot from which the original ball or ball-marker was moved. If the spot where the ball is to be placed is impossible to determine, it must be estimated and the ball placed on the estimated spot.. Neither playing partners had seen Montgomerie’s lie in the bunker so it was up to him to estimate where his ball was at rest and replace another ball at that spot.
Television replays later showed that Montgomerie replaced the ball between 12 and 18 inches from its original position, which meant that he was able to take a much easier stance with both feet outside of the bunker. Montgomerie later admitted that he had been wrong about the spot where he placed the replacement golf ball, but was adamant that it he made an ‘inadvertent error’ in estimating where it lay. However, he apologised and donated his prize money of £24,000 to a local Tsunami Relief charity.