Zach Johnson looked like a weekend duffer when he accidentally hit his ball with a practice swing - here is why there was no penalty

Zach Johnson Masters missed swing@CBSSports /TwitterZach Johnson couldn't help but laugh after his accidental hit.@CBSSports /Twitter

  • Zach Johnson accidentally hit his ball at the 13th tee at the Masters on Friday in a hilarious scene.
  • Johnson immediately yelled "Oh s---!" after his error, and then asked for guidance as to what the rules were for the situation he found himself in.
  • Ultimately, Johnson did not need to take a penalty stroke because he had not intended to hit the ball and it was not yet in play.
  • Read all of Business Insider's Masters coverage here.
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Zach Johnson hit the most relatable shot of the Masters on Friday when he accidentally made contact with his ball off the 13th tee at Augusta National while taking a practice swing.

In a scene common to casual golfers but hardly ever seen at the professional level, Johnson sent his ball errantly out to the right after getting just a little too close while taking a practice stroke before teeing off.

"Oh s---!" Johnson said immediately.

Then, after a beat, he looked over to his fellow players and caddies and asked, "What happens there?"

He was then informed that because the contact he made was unintentional, it did not count as a penalty stroke.

"Okay, there's a first for everything there boys," Johnson said, relieved. "I mean, y'all can laugh. That's embarrassing."

You can watch the hilarious scene play out below.

The key reason that Johnson's mishit didn't count as a stroke comes down to two things - the contact was unintentional, and the ball was not yet in play.

Had Johnson already teed off and been hitting from the fairway, accidental contact with the ball would have counted as a stroke regardless of his intent, as the ball would have already been in play.

But because Johnson had yet to tee off, the ball was not technically in play when he made his swing, meaning the ruling came down to his intent. Had Johnson intended to hit the ball and simply whiffed, it would have counted as a stroke, but because he was clearly taking a practice swing - as evident by the fact that he had yet to "address," or set up behind the ball - he was allowed to re-tee and take his drive without penalty.

Further, if anyone doubted the intent of his swing, his immediate exclamation of "Oh s---!" made it pretty clear that it was an accident.

Johnson made the most of his second chance, hitting a 285-yard drive onto the fairway and eventually netting a birdie on the hole.

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