CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Co. — Keegan Bradley withdrew from the BMW Championship prior to the third round due to a potential rules infraction on the 18th hole of the first round.
After hitting his tee shot in the water hazard on his tee shot on No. 18 on Thursday, Bradley’s third shot from 233 yards with a 4-iron came up short of the green, embedding in the steep grass face just above the left bunker. Bradley took relief (Rule 25-2) for a ball embedded in its own pitch mark. After taking relief, he chipped onto the green and 2-putted for a double-bogey six.
After a conversation with a fan after the round where the fan told Bradley he had seen the ball bounce before coming to rest, Bradley was unsettled about his handling of 25-2 and conferred Friday morning with PGA Tour Vice President of Rules and Competitions Slugger White, who absolved Bradley of any potential violation after the two discussed the situation and examined the pitch mark at the 18th hole.
Saturday morning, Bradley withdrew from the BMW Championship after rounds of 71-70 (T41) as he had lingering doubts about whether or not his ball in question had come to rest in its own pitch mark.
“I just feel withdrawing is the right thing to do to protect the field in the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship next week,” Bradley said in a statement. “It’s eating me alive. I didn’t call my fellow competitors for help in the first place and that bothers me. I know the official approved the drop but I just can’t be absolutely sure it was the right spot.”
Entering the week 28th in the FedExCup standings, Bradley is in danger of falling out of the top 30 and qualifying for the Tour Championship by Coca-Cola. Bradley has qualified for the FedExCup Playoff finale each of his first three years on Tour (2011-13).
According to rule 25-2, a ball embedded in its own pitch-mark in the ground in any closely mown area through the green may be lifted, cleaned and dropped, without penalty, as near as possible to the spot where it lay but not nearer the hole. The ball when dropped must first strike a part of the course through the green. “Closely mown area” means any area of the course, including paths through the rough, cut to fairway height or less.