Leaf knocks pro golfer's putt off its line

How unlucky is this?

Matthew Southgate was lining up a putt at the DAP Championship – a Tour event – and just as he tapped his ball, a little leaf blew over and hit it. That sent the putt to the right of the hole and left poor Southgate feeling frustrated … and who could blame him?

But here’s what’s worse: Southgate then immediately finished the hole. And that turned out to violate the USGA’s Rule 19-1b:

If a player’s ball in motion after a stroke on the putting green is deflected or stopped by, or comes to rest in or on, any moving or animate outside agency, except a worm, insect or the like, the stroke is canceled. The ball must be replaced and replayed.

You have to love how there’s a specific note about worms or insects, but that’s not the point here. Southgate didn’t replace or replay the shot and finished his round, so he was given a four-stroke penalty – two for violating Rule 19-1b and a pair for…

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