DORAL, Fla. -- World No. 4 Graeme McDowell's attempts to get back in the hunt at the Cadillac Championship got another shot tougher a few minutes after his round ended.
McDowell spoke with a European Tour rules official who broke the news to the Northern Ireland that that another shot would be added to hit tally, giving him a 1-over 73 that dropped him eight shots off the lead and into a tie for 28th.
He brought it to the attention of officials himself.
"As I made my stroke to hit it, I was aware of the ball just starting to move," he said. "I was on a bit of a side slope, obviously some strong winds out there. And as I made my backstroke, the ball just ever so slightly just started to move."
He was unable to stop his stroke by then.
"It was kind of too late. I had made my transition, and I just continued on with the putt. And you know, [rules official] Andy McFee just showed me that in the decisions of golf there -- whether you stop or continue your stroke, the ball has moved from its original position, and I'm deemed to have moved that ball, so it's a one-shot penalty."
McDowell immediately turned to playing partner Phil Mickelson after hitting the putt and told Lefty that the ball had moved slightly. Nobody in the group knew whether McDowell would be subject to a penalty, so he asked as soon as he finished the round, to his credit.
"It was just kind of one of those niggling things," he said. "I figured I had to ask before I signed my scorecard. And I was surprised to see it was a one shot penalty, but it's just kind of one of those horrible rules of golf that catches us all out from time to time.
"Just one of those things unfortunately. You know, got to get those doubts out of your mind."
McDowell has taken the honorable route before, and in the same geographic vicinity, too. Last year at the Honda Classic, McDowell was in contention in the second round when he added a shot to his total because he felt he had unwittingly grounded his club while hitting a shot from a water hazard, which isn't permitted.