Billy Horschel, from 60 yards right of the green on the 329-yard, par-4 9th at Harbour Town Golf Links, hit his second shot to within 10 feet. His ball landed on a straight line with the hole and about 25 feet right of it, and it rolled another 15.
The pinecone that his ball had been pressed up against? It went out about 3 yards forward and slightly to the right after contact, then bounced back almost exactly parallel to where it had been sitting.
The ball wasn’t bothered by the pinecone, and the pinecone wasn’t bothered by the ball.
“That’s really good from there,” analyst Colt Knost said.
“Pine cone went straight and so did the ball,” announcer Terry Gannon said.
“Make note of that,” Faldo said.
Horschel tried to hit just one, and it wasn’t the pinecone.
He had hit his drive right, and his ball ended up against the pinecone and to the left of a portable hand sanitizing station. The station was lifted away, but the pinecone couldn’t be. Horschel gently put two fingers on top of it to see if he could move it without moving the ball, but he quickly backed away.
“I think I can move it and it won’t move, but … I’m not going to try it,” Horschel said to his caddie. “I mean, it’s not really going to affect the ball.”
He’d put his club behind the ball and the pinecone, lean over them again to check one last time if he could move the latter, and warned the people to the right that the pinecone might kick out their way.
“I think it’s got to affect it a little bit,” Knost said. “I mean, it’s right up against the ball.”
Neither Horschel, nor the ball, nor the pinecone seemed bothered. He’d end up missing the birdie putt but parred the hole.
“He was absolutely right,” Faldo said on the broadcast. “You got to try everything, kids. Seriously. Off golf cart paths, off pine needles. You might as well practice it so you don’t get shocked by what could happen.”
“Wait, how many times did you practice that?” Gannon asked.
“Never,” Faldo said. “But I’m just trying to get the youngsters a heads-up. I’m loving, caring Nick.”