Brooks Koepka hit into the trees. Then he got to hit over them.
And a LIV Golf analyst wondered how — three times.
In the end on Friday, Koepka parred the 428-yard, par-4 15th hole at Sentosa Golf Club during the first round of LIV’s event in Singapore, though how he made his four is notable. The sequence featured relief because of tents and “port-a-loos,” a drop about “200 club lengths” from where his ball landed — and some doubt.
To begin, Koepka hit his tee shot right and into a batch of trees on his 13th overall hole (he and playing partners Bryson DeChambeau and Sergio Garcia started on the 3rd hole in the shotgun-start format). Was there a shot? Possibly. (Picture above.) Though in the trees, Koepka and caddie Ricky Elliott believed they had a line to the green, but it was blocked by the tent-and-toilet setup from the nearby “Fan Village.” They argued for temporary immovable obstruction relief.
In this case, if it were to be given, Koepka could drop to the right of the village — and potentially all the way on the adjacent 16th fairway, some 150 yards away. When the broadcast caught up to Koepka, that was, in fact, where he was walking back from. To an official, he motioned back at 16 with his right thumb.
Following the group was on-course analyst Dom Boulet, booth analyst David Feherty and rules analyst Tony Zirpoli, and here was what was said on the broadcast.
“I think he’s getting line of sight off the TIO,” Boulet said.
“He’s going to ask to see if he does get TIO,” Zirpoli said.
“I’m not sure what he’s asking for,” said Boulet, who then asked Elliott if he knew.
“He’s getting line of sight,” Elliott said. “I guess you can drop both sides.”
Koepka worked to get his yardage. But there was more doubt.
Said Feherty: “It doesn’t appear there is anything between him and the hole.”
Said Boulet: “Well, there are toilets over there. Ricky just told me it’s line of sight. I think it’s the port-a-loos perhaps.
“But I didn’t think that was an option, to be honest with you. I mean, he’s got to go through a couple of trees to take that option.”
At this point, Koepka picked up his ball. He started his walk to 16, making his way through some tents. (Picture above.)
There, ahead of his second shot, he talked with official David Blake on where he would be clear of the tents.
Said Zirpoli: “And under the local rule, he can take relief on either side of the TIO. It probably gives him a better shot. So he’s taking the smart way out by taking that other-side relief. And it’s also a long walk.”
Said Feherty: “It sure is. It’s an unusual situation that there would be such a gap. He’s going to walk to the point, Tony, where he has a clear look?”
Said Zirpoli: “Right, where he has a …”
Said Boulet: “He’s going to drop in the middle of the 16th fairway.”
Said Zirpoli: “He will have a clear view of the edge of the TIO. He will then get a one club-length corridor, and then from that one club-length corridor, he gets an additional one club length, which is his relief area. He has to drop in that relief area.”
Said Feherty: “Well, he’s about 200 club lengths from where he was.”
After the conversation with Blake, Koepka dropped just left of the right side of the 16th fairway. (Picture above.) But there was still doubt.
Said Feherty: “Give us a yardage, Dom.”
Said Boulet: “I heard Ricky say 167; that’s what they’re measuring it because that’s where they wanted to take relief — the same distance. Now I didn’t think it was an option what he had to go over there — port-a-loo or tent or whatever it was he was going over. But David Blake, referee, gave him the ruling and he’s got a big break here.”
Said Feherty: “You take them when you can get them. You get plenty of bad breaks. That’s a good one.”
And from there, Koepka hit over the trees he once faced in front of him, and his ball dropped 8 feet from the hole. He two-putted for the four.
Said Feherty after Koepka’s second shot: “That was worth waiting for.”