At the last Web.com tournament before the Grand Finale in September 2017, Matthew Southgate received a 4-stroke penalty because of his ignorance of the Rules.
He needed a solid performance to receive his 2018 PGA TOUR card. After 3 rounds he was in a very good position.
On hole #15 of the last round he made a stroke at his ball lying on the green and the ball was deflected by a moving leaf, the ball did not go in the hole. He completed the play of that hole with the ball positioned a few inches from the cup.
When a ball is deflected by a loose impediment (leaf, branch) by an imperfection or by the wind, the ball must be played where it lies.
Click here to watch the clip: https://thegolfnewsnet.com/golfnewsnetteam/2017/09/24/blowing-leaf-caused-web-com-tour-player-three-shot-penalty-106979/
If a ball in motion played from the green is deflected by an outside agency (dog, bird, other player, spectator), the stroke must be replayed without penalty.
What is the problem?
When we look at the video, we can see that the ball was deflected by a moving leaf. Usually a leaf is a loose impediment but because the leaf was moving, it is considered as an outside agency.
By not replaying the stroke, the player played from the wrong place and this is a 2-stroke penalty. Because he signed his score card without adding those 2 strokes, he signed for a wrong score and the penalty is 2 more strokes. This probably cost him his PGA TOUR card for 2018.
Maybe we don’t agree with the rules or the penalties but the player should have asked a rules officials to confirm he did everything right. 6 officials were available on the course with the possibility of a rapid response.
This is a good rule. When you make a living playing golf you should make sure you know the rules or at least ask an expert before doing something wrong.