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Golf | Presidents Cup

Jordan Spieth with Louis Oosthuizen © Gallo Images

Penalty over 'silly' rule barely slows Spieth

A penalty on Jordan Spieth had Presidents Cup players shaking their heads in consternation on Saturday over a "stupid" rule of golf.

The US star was trying to quell hostile US fans when he used his putter to pick up an eagle attempt from South African Louis Oosthuizen which had rolled past the cup.

Oosthuizen teammate Jason Day had already birdied the hole for the International team, so Spieth's action seemed meaningless.

But it broke the rule barring players from influencing the movement of a ball in play. Spieth was denied his attempt at a 12-foot birdie putt to halve the hole.

Even US assistant captain Tiger Woods became embroiled in the heated discussion with the rules official on scene.

"I only stopped it because our fans were screaming 'keep going,'" Spieth could be heard to say, adding he hoped to "shut everybody up."

"This is what's wrong with the rules sometimes in golf," Day said. "They already conceded the birdie to me. Louis putts it and he's just going to stop it because it's going to roll down, maybe in the water, so he's just doing the courteous thing.

"No one wants to win a hole like that," Day added. "It's kind of a stupid rule."

Day and Oosthuizen both called for Spieth to be allowed to make his putt – and when he wasn't they even offered to concede the 13th hole to the Americans.

"Jordan said, no, that's the rule and that's how it is and don't worry about it," Oosthuizen said.

"That is the rules, but, again, silly rule," the South African added.

The International duo went 1-up at the hole and stayed in front through the 14th.

Then the Americans won three straight holes with birdies to seize the match.

"You know, we were 1-up and they were three birdies in a row," Oosthuizen said. "They were just a little better."

Spieth called it a "bad rule" but admitted it fired him up.

"I hit my next putt on the next hole about eight feet by – really trying to throw it down the throat," he said.


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