Diary of a USGA Rules Official: True or False?

Rule 14-4 covers Striking the Ball More Than Once, even out of deep rough.

Dr. Robin Farran teaches Advanced Rules at the Golf Academy of America in Phoenix and is one of the USGA’s top Rules Officials. You have to wonder what he would say about Lexi Thompson’s delayed four-stroke penalty over the weekend! Dr. Farran is always emailing out different scenarios and actual rulings.

In this month’s Diary of a USGA Rules Official, the good doctor plays a little True or False? among other things:

Saturday Incidents – March 23, 2017 – The Rulings
1. Player A takes relief from a concrete cart path and places the ball on the turf close to the cart path and plays the ball from that location with his stance on the cart path.

**Player A has played from a wrong place in taking relief under Rule 24-2 and has not dropped the ball as prescribed by the Rule. In match play, Player A loses the hole. In stroke play, Player A incurs a two-stroke penalty. See Note 3, item (b) under Rule 20-7.

2. In deep rough, Player B strikes the ball a second time while the club is moving forward. The ball pops up and comes down striking the club.

**Player B incurs a one-stroke penalty. Player B breached Rule 14-4 and was liable for 1p for striking a ball twice during the stroke and also breached Rule 19-2 for the ball in motion after a stroke striking Player B’s equipment. However, as Player B breached two Rules as a result of a single act, Player B incurs only a single one-stroke penalty. See Decision 1-4/12, situation 2.

3. Player C uses a small stone to mark the one-club distance from the nearest point of relief in taking relief from an obstruction. The dropped ball lands where prescribed by Rule 24-2, bounces off the stone and comes to rest within the prescribed area.

**Player C’s ball is properly in play. No re-drop is required for a dropped ball being deflected by a loose impediment.

4. In four-ball match play, it is side D/E’s turn to play. Both Player D and Player E chip at the same time near the putting green and the balls collide on the putting green.

**Both balls are to be played from wherever the balls came to rest, without any penalties. See Rule 19-5b.

The penalty for playing a ball from a wrong place is two strokes.

True or False?
1. Player takes relief for an embedded ball and drops the ball just within one club-length of the nearest point of relief, not nearer the hole. The player has proceeded properly.

 True False
**See Rule 25-2. 

2. A competitor took relief from a lateral water hazard, dropped a ball in a wrong place (not a serious breach) and played the ball. The total penalty is three strokes. 

True False
**One-stroke penalty under Rule 26-1 for relief and a two-stroke penalty for playing from a wrong place. See Rule 26-1, Rule 20-7c and the penalty statement following Rule 26. 

3. When a ball is in motion after a stroke, a flagstick lying on the fringe may be lifted to prevent the ball from striking the flagstick. 

True False
**See last sentence in Rule 24-1. 

4. A player properly plays a provisional ball. If the original ball is found in a terrible lie the player may deem the original ball unplayable and continue play with the provisional ball. 

True False
**See Rule 27-2c and Decision 27-2c/2. 

5. A ball lands on the roof of the clubhouse, an obstruction, exact location unknown. For the purpose of taking relief, the ball is deemed to lie at the spot where the ball last crossed the outermost limits of the obstruction. 

True False
**See Rule 24-3b(i). 

6. Vegetation within an area marked as ground under repair interferes with the backswing for the player’s next stroke. The ball lies through the green outside the GUR. The player is entitled to relief. 

True False
**See Definition of “Ground Under Repair” and Decision 25-1a/1. 

Once a ball is declared lost.
A ball is lost if not found or identified by the player within five minutes after he has begun to search for it.

7. Once a ball is declared lost it becomes a wrong ball even if found before the five-minute search period expires. 

True False
**See Definition of “Lost Ball” and Decision 27/16. 

8. In match play, if a player plays from a wrong place in taking relief from a cart path, the player loses the hole. 

True False
**See Rule 20-7b, Rule 24-2b and penalty statement following Rule 24. 

9. At any time, a player may play a ball, under penalty of one stroke, from where the original ball was last played. 

True False
**See Rule 27-1a. 

10. If a ball is found in a water hazard, the player may play the ball as it lies or, under penalty of one stroke, play a ball at the spot where the original ball was last played or drop a ball behind the water hazard on a line with the hole and the point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard (on the “flag-line”). 

True False
**See Rule 26-1a and Rule 26-1b.

11. A player’s ball lies in a water hazard. Prior to deciding whether to play the ball as it lies or take relief the player moves a loose impediment in the hazard. If the player elects to take relief from the hazard there is no penalty for moving the loose impediment. 

True False
**See Rule 13-4c and Decision 13-4/17.

Easy? Maybe!
1.    Which of the following is a wrong ball?
a)    A player’s second ball played under Rule 3-3.
b)    A ball that has been substituted for the original ball that was lifted on the putting green.
c)    A ball that lies out of bounds. **See Definitions of “Ball in Play” and “Wrong Ball”.
d)    A player’s provisional ball.

2.    In which of the following instances is a player deemed to have made a stroke?
a)    A player’s club strikes a tree limb during his backswing and breaks in half.
b)    The player “checks his swing” – swinging over the top of the ball on purpose.
c)    In the fairway, a player hits his ball accidentally with a practice swing.
d)    A player completes his backswing, and during the forward movement of his club the club catches in a branch and is stopped. ** Definition of “Stroke” and Decision 14/1.

In match play, once a hole is conceded, it is considered lost.
In match play, once a hole is conceded, it is considered lost.

3.    In a match between A and B, A putts out of turn. B incorrectly claims that A loses the hole for putting out of turn. A protests, but concedes the hole. Later, A consults the Rules and then lodges a protest with the Committee. What is the ruling?
a)    B is disqualified under Rule 33-7.
b)    A lost the hole when he conceded it. ** See Rule 2-4 and Decisions 2-4/7, 2-5/5, 2-5/7 and 2-5/10
c)    The decision is up to the Committee in charge of the competition.
d)    B loses the hole and the match outcome is re-calculated.

4.    In stroke play, a player announces that he will play two balls under Rule 3-3 and selects the second ball to count. The player plays the original ball in accordance with the Rules and the second ball from a wrong place. What is the ruling?
a)    The score with the original ball counts. ** See Rule 3-3b(i) and Decision 3-3/5.
b)    The score with the second ball counts.

5.    Which of the following is TRUE with regard to the nearest point of relief for taking relief under Rule 24-2 or Rule 25-1.
a)    This point must be determined prior to the drop; the player may use any club in his bag.
b)    It is a point where if the ball were so positioned, no interference (as defined) would exist. ** See Definition of “Nearest Point of Relief”.
c)    While determining this point, the location of the ball’s original position must be marked.
d)    The ball’s original location must not be nearer the hole than this point.

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