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Xander Schauffele gets questionably favorable ruling at Wells Fargo

Xander Schauffele gets questionably favorable ruling at Wells Fargo

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Xander Schauffele is sitting atop the leaderboard after the opening 18 holes at the 2024 Wells Fargo Championship thanks to some stellar play and a favorable ruling on his penultimate hole. 

The 30-year-old fired a 7-under 64 to take a three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa and Alex Noren on Thursday at Quail Hollow Club but avoided disaster on the par-4 eighth hole after he blew his drive way to the right into a cluster of trees and bushes in a penalty area.

Schauffele’s ball was near the property fence line but received free relief after consulting with rules official Dave Donnelly because one of the PGA Tour’s ShotLink towers, which falls under the category of a Temporary Immovable Object, was in his line to the green. It seemed nearly impossible for Schauffele to advance his ball through the thick foliage, but according to the Tour’s chief referee Gary Young, there was a small, one-foot window below the brush that Schauffele could have punched a shot through.

With the tower in the way, that meant he was able to receive free relief, so long as he hit his shot from the penalty area, Mark Dusbabek explained on the Golf Channel broadcast. He was able to drop on the pine straw with a clear look at the green and then scramble for par.

While we haven’t gotten a good look at what Schauffele saw from the trees, from the video that is available online, the optics sure aren’t great. Fans and media were quick to be critical of the decision to grant Schauffele free relief. Here’s some of the reaction to the Schauffele decision. 


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