- Bob Harig, Senior Golf Writer
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ARDMORE, Pa. -- Masters champion Adam Scott was the subject of a rules inquiry Thursday during the first round of the U.S. Open following several calls and emails from viewers who believed the Australian might have grounded his club in a hazard on the fifth hole.
Scott had hit his tee shot to the left of the fairway and inside a hazard line, where a player is not permitted to rest his club on the ground.
Scott played his second shot toward the green and eventually made bogey on the hole. He birdied two of his last four holes before play was suspended to get to 3 under par.
Afterward, Scott was approached by United States Golf Association vice president Tom O'Toole Jr., who asked him about the situation. After a discussion, it was ruled the Scott did not ground his club, and a USGA spokesman reported the Australian did not receive what would have been a two-stroke penalty for a violation of the rule.
Scott wasn't the only one eyed for an infraction Thursday.
O'Toole said a call came in that Steve Stricker improved his lie in an area where he intended to take a penalty drop on the par-3 third hole by walking back and forth on the thick grass.
Stricker's tee shot went on the edge of a bunker in the trees short and left of the green. The rules official determined it was not in a bunker, and Stricker took a one-shot penalty for an unplayable lie because a tree got in the way of his swing. With the elevated green, he walked up the hill a few times to see the flag. O'Toole said the viewer suggested Stricker trampled the grass where he was to drop the ball.
"It's not an intent-based rule," O'Toole said. "In light of other things, we wanted to review it."
After meeting with Stricker, it was determined that he did not drop it in the area he was walking, and it was not a violation. Stricker said he was surprised to see O'Toole in the trailer to ask about the drop.
"I had a pine tree in my way, and I was struggling to get the line of my drop," said Stricker, who ended up with a double-bogey. "I couldn't see the wicker basket. I dropped it in any area that was not disturbed."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.