A bit of controversy bubbled up after the completion of the first round of play at the Masters on Thursday, as Abraham Ancer was given a 2-stroke penalty for tapping the sand on hole 15.
“On the 15th hole during Thursday’s first round, Abraham Ancer unknowingly touched the sand before making his third stroke from the greenside bunker,” Tournament Headquarters for The Masters said in a Tweet announcing the decision. “After Mr. Ancer had signed his scorecard and exited the scoring area, video evidence was reviewed by the Committee regarding a potential breach of Rule 12.2b(1), which states that touching sand in a bunker right behind the ball results in a penalty.”
Ancer’s touching the sand, however, was barely visible. In his tweet about the incident, Ancer posted video of the infraction, but handled it in stride.
“I was just informed that I have been assessed a 2 stroke penalty for unintentionally grazing the sand in my backswing on hole 15,” Ancer said. “While I’m gutted, I can’t wait to get after it tomorrow.”
I was just informed that I have been assessed a 2 stroke penalty for unintentionally grazing the sand in my backswing on hole 15. While I’m gutted, I can’t wait to get after it tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/5ZOlthQzeE— Abraham Ancer (@Abraham_Ancer) April 9, 2021
The Masters further clarified that Ancer’s infraction was because it was “visible to the naked eye,” despite it being quite difficult to see in replay.
” The touching of the sand was deemed visible to the naked eye. Had this not been the case, the video evidence would have been disregarded and a penalty would not have been applied,” the Masters said. “Mr. Ancer has been penalized two strokes. His score on 15 will be increased from 6 to 8, resulting in a first-round 75.”
The penalty dropped Ancer from a tie for 30th place after round 1, to a tie for 52nd.
Ancer will be back on the course in the afternoon, as he tees off with Hideki Matsuyama and Harris English at 1 p.m. Follow along with our complete coverage.