Veteran Australian golfer John Sendon speak about the controversial incident. Photo: @PGAofAustralia on twitter

GOLD COAST – Golfer John Sendon's driver snapped on his downswing and he missed the ball in a freak air shot that sparked controversy at the Australian PGA Championships on the Gold Coast Thursday.

The veteran Australian was two-under-par at the Royal Pines Resort when he lined at the tee, pulling the driver above his head only for the shaft to snap near the grip as he brought it down towards the ball.

It left him off balance and shaking his hand after the club appeared to pinch him.

With no other driver in his bag, he was forced use an iron with the air swing counting as a shot, which left many fans baffled.

Veteran Australian golfer John Sendon. Photo: @PGAofAustralia on twitter
Veteran Australian golfer John Sendon. Photo: @PGAofAustralia on twitter

“For it to count as a strike doesn't there have to be an intent?” asked one Twitter user.

“Couldn't he argue that there was no intention to strike the ball once the grip broke in his backswing?”

In a tweeted response, Golf Australia said: “This was the discussion just had between John and a rules official on the 11th tee... the incident will be reviewed following the round.”

Sendon ended with a par 72, six behind leading pair Jake McLeod and Matt Jager, with world number 21 Mark Leishman two off the pace after shooting a 68.

Agence France-Presse (AFP)