A smudge on Donald’s scorecard for his opening round at one of golf’s most prestigious events made his score on the fifth hole look like a three when he had in fact returned a bogey five.
Players sign their own scorecards and record their own scores, and any errors on the scorecard can be punished by disqualification from tournaments.
But in Donald’s case no error had been made, and the fault lay with the fax machine which had received the score – running low on ink, the number he had written down was unclear and the printout failed to show up that the correct procedure had been followed.
To add further intrigue to the incident, the smudge on the scorecard was reportedly caused by someone who handled the card eating a doughnut.
The incident caused Donald a nervy wait to see whether he could continue participating in the tournament.
Augusta, strong adherents of tradition, do not allow tweets on the golf course, but the suspense was eased for Donald’s fans when his wife tweeted that all was well.
“Just got off the phone with Luke, NOT disqualified,” Diane Donald wrote. “Thank goodness.”
Organisers are set to replace the cartridge in the fax machine to avoid a repeat of the incident at next year’s event.
Donald lives to fight on in the tournament, but despite his reprieve the world number one has plenty to do in order to win a first Major title.
His round of 75 on day one left him eight shots adrift of the overnight leader, compatriot Lee Westwood.