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Talk about late corrections. Craig Stadler was playing the 14th hole, and his ball landed under the branches of a tree. In an attempt to complete the round without having mud stains on his pants, Stadler placed a towel on the ground, got on his knees and hit the ball. Recollection says it was a decent shot.
Stadler finished the round, came back the next day, played, and after the final round, he was told that he had violated a rule regarding taking a stance.
He was told that use of the towel was considered “building” a stance, which is a rules violation. Because he had signed a scorecard for less than the correct score on Saturday, he was disqualified from the tournament.
Years later it was determined that the Stadler Tree, as it came to be known, needed to be removed. Stadler was asked if he wanted to do the honors, and he gladly accepted. Chainsaw Craig was born.
What is the Rule?
13-2. Improving Lie, Area of Intended Stance or Swing, or Line of Play
A player must not improve or allow to be improved: the position or lie of his ball, the area of his intended stance or swing, his line of play or a reasonable extension of that line beyond the hole, or the area in which he is to drop or place a ball, by any of the following actions: pressing a club on the ground, moving, bending or breaking anything growing or fixed (including immovable obstructions and objects defining out of bounds), creating or eliminating irregularities of surface, removing or pressing down sand, loose soil, replaced divots or other cut turf placed in position, or removing dew, frost or water.