You might have noticed that Justin Thomas ran into somewhat of a problem last Saturday during the U.S. Open, which is that kind of tournament in which you don’t want to have any kind of problem. This is because the course typically hands you more problems than your brain can absorb.

Ridiculously thick rough. Bunkers that have seen men enter and never be seen again. Greens that wave and roll like ocean swells.

All these sorts of challenges weren’t enough for Thomas. His tee shot on the par-four fourth hole was hit well, but its landing was most foul. It wound up a couple of inches from a large drain.

Thomas expected relief, but there was none. The ruling was that the drain between his feet and the ball would not interfere with his shot. Thomas was disappointed. His second shot went awry. Some of his language was not suitable for consumption by all age groups and religions.

Obviously, I was not on the scene to view his situation closely, but, from what I saw on television and read about, I would lean toward giving Thomas relief. The drain might have been an issue for Thomas only in his mental approach to the shot. Having something of that size and visible prominence between player and ball would seem to make that problem a given. That kind of mental issue isn’t a reason to grant relief, but the ball appeared to be on or around the slight slope created by the placement of the drain, and I could see that impacting Thomas’ shot.

So give the man some relief.

Take my opinion here with a grain of salt, however. I also favor relief in the following situations:

  • When my ball is a fried egg in a bunker.
  • When my ball is under the lip of a bunker.
  • When my ball is near a muddy spot in a bunker.
  • When my ball is in a bunker, period, even one with supremely manicured and pampered sand.
  • When my ball is in a divot.
  • When my ball is close to a divot.
  • When my ball is where the next player might make a divot.
  • On a 98-degree day with soaring humidity, I must be allowed to move my ball very close to the drink cart. For relief, obviously.
  • On par 3 holes that include even a puddle of water, I want relief somewhere beyond the water.
  • When my ball is near a gum wrapper.
  • When my ball is within two football fields of any sort of reptile. Especially those of the alligator variety.
  • Anytime my ball is in very thick, mangy rough. My doctor has given me a note to avoid swinging into such obnoxious cabbage.