MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In a huge development at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, Cameron Smith has been assessed a two-stroke penalty for playing his ball from the wrong place on the 4th hole on Saturday.
Smith, who was -11 to start the day, drops him to -9 to start his final round. With the penalty, Smith now starts his final round four shots back of leader J.J. Spaun.
Smith tees off alongside Tyler Duncan at 12:30. A win at the FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis would place him to No. 1 in the world.
Smith learned about the ruling just over an hour before teeing off in the final round and he already earned back one of those shot, opening with a birdie 3 on the 1st. Smith now at -10.
Gary Young, PGA Tour Chief Referee, said:
“The rules give the player, as long as the player has showed reasonable judgment in determining whether or not his ball was in or out of the penalty area in this situation with his own naked eye, I thought it was simply going to be a situation where I asked Cam the question and he was going to tell him that he was comfortable that his ball was outside the penalty area. When I asked him the question, unfortunately, he said to me, “No, the ball was definitely touching the line.” So at that point there’s no turning back. His reaction was very calm, very matter of fact. He knew — he knew he had made a mistake, he just didn’t have an understanding of it. He knew that the rules were the rules. His answer to me is, “The rules are the rules.” He just accepted the two-stroke penalty.”
Smith, the British Open Champion, has been at the center of controversy this week in Memphis with a report that he has already agreed to join the rival and Saudi-backed LIV Tour at the end of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.