Woody Austin given 4-stroke penalty

Updated: August 9, 2013, 8:50 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Woody Austin incurred a four-stroke penalty Friday at the PGA Championship after realizing he had 15 clubs in his bag during the second round.

Austin, 49, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, was in violation of Rule 4-4 for exceeding the 14-club limit. The penalty is two strokes for each hole where the breach occurred, up to a four-stroke limit. Austin added two strokes to his score for the first and second holes and ended up with a 75 to finish at 4 over par, missing the 36-hole cut by 1 shot.

He had forgotten to take a 21-degree hybrid out of his bag but didn't notice it because of the rain cover over his clubs to keep them dry. Austin and his caddie Dave Lawson began the round in the rain.

"It's not his fault; it's my fault as much as his fault," Austin said. "It's both our jobs. It's just one of those things, if it wasn't raining, we would have caught it. But you've got the rain cover over everything and you're worrying about the towels and whatever, so you don't see it.

"But if we would have been on the first tee on a normal day, clubs sitting there, you would have seen it. It's such a bulky club, you wouldn't have missed it. It doesn't have a head cover on it or anything. We would have caught it immediately. But the fact that you have got your clubs completely covered, I never saw it until I dug in there for the 3 iron on No. 3, and there it was."

Austin, who won the Sanderson Farms Championship three weeks ago, shot a first-round 69 and would have made the cut easily without the four-stroke penalty. He did make two birdies on the front side and another on the back nine but his bogey at the 18th ultimately proved costly.

"Can't say I was angry, because it was more, I don't know, it was more of a shock, so you're kind of like pretty bummed," Austin said. "I think after 20 years, you do one stupid thing ... and that's the first time I've ever done something like that. Now all I've got to do is figure out how to get DQ'd."

Among the more famous 14-club rule breaches occurred at the 2001 Open Championship, where after birdieing the first hole of the final round at Royal Lytham (a par-3), Ian Woosnam discovered on the second tee that he had an extra driver in his bag.

The two-stroke penalty incensed him to the point that he threw the extra club into some nearby bushes. Woosnam ended up finishing four strokes behind winner David Duval.

"I remember Ian's deal at the British, so I remembered that it was no more than four shots," Austin said. "I grinded all day, and that bogey on the last hole probably cost me, so technically, I'm even par, but I'm down the road, so that's kind of harsh. ... I could be even par and in the tournament, but instead I'm down the road. So I'm real disappointed."

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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