THOMAS PIETERS was bizarrely given a free drop after claiming he was distracted when trying to putt.

The 30-year-old Belgian was playing the third alongside Ewen Ferguson and Victor Perez at the Cazoo Open de France on Friday.

Twitter / @SkySportsGolf

Pieters went to putt but made a mess of it[/caption]

Twitter / @SkySportsGolf

The Belgian claimed he was distracted by noise coming from the crowd[/caption]

Twitter / @SkySportsGolf

Pieters was then given a free drop[/caption]

Twitter / @SkySportsGolf

The 30-year-old split opinion on social media[/caption]

As Pieters began his stroke on his 35-foot birdie putt, a crying child is said to have distracted him.

And despite attempting to stop he was unable to prevent contact with the ball.

Pieters explained to officials he attempted to stop – which they agreed with.

And so they let the former Ryder Cup star replace his ball and retake his putt.

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One of Sky Sport’s commentators said: “Never, ever seen that before!”

Officials applied Rule 13d of the Rules of Golf.

The rule is applied to accidents causing a ball or ball marker to move on the green.

It states: “There is no penalty if the player, opponent or another player in stroke play accidentally moves the player’s ball or ball-marker on the putting green.”


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As a result, the ball should be replaced and played from its original spot.

However, the call to allow Pieters to retake his putt has been criticised on social media.

One viewer fumed: “That is a ridiculous ruling. And could open the door to all sorts of ‘I wanted to stop but didn’t’ claims.

“If you address the ball, take the club back and hit the ball, surely it’s a stroke?!”

Another said: “I think he definitely tried to pull back and stop his motion…but a very grey area…that’s an interesting call to make.”

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