By Samuel Chamberlain
Published March 18, 2019
Jon Rahm's chances of winning the prestigious Players Championship disappeared Sunday after he ignored his caddie's advice in favor of a risk that didn't pay off.
Rahm, who held the 54-hole lead at TPC Sawgrass before starting the final round with three bogeys over four holes, was tied for the lead at 14-under par when he came to the par-5 11th hole. After his tee shot landed in a fairway bunker 220 yards from the hole, Rahm had a decision to make. He could lay up short of a water hazard and give himself a better angle for his third shot, or he could go for broke and go for the green.
Rahm's caddie, Adam Hayes, left no doubt about what he thought Rahm should do in a conversation that was picked up by the NBC broadcast.
"I’m gonna get you flat over here," Hayes said, pointing to the fairway. "You’ll have a flat lie, you’ll have 100 [yards to the green] -- "
"The problem is,” Rahm interrupted, “I’m not confident hitting that shot because it's not a good lie. If you hit it too far down there you’ll have a very tough angle."
"Okay, yeah," a seemingly exasperated Hayes said before walking away.
Rahm went for the green and missed badly, hitting his shot into the water on his way to making a bogey that knocked him off the top of the leaderboard.
"I was so f---ing sure the first time," Rahm said as the ball headed toward the drink.
"That is very, very perplexing," NBC commentator Dan Hicks said of the sequence.
"Really a poor decision," course reporter Roger Maltbie chimed in.
Rahm was still in the tournament before playing the last four holes at three-over-par to finish in a tie for 12th at 11-under, five shots behind eventual winner Rory McIlroy.
"Adam was trying to convince me to go right, and when I first got to the ball I was really sure I could [hit the green]," Rahm said after his round. "I mean, if you give me 10 balls besides that one I’ll hit the other one on land. But unfortunately, I got a little bit of doubt in me."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.