Dr. Robin Farran is widely regarded as one of the country’s top USGA’s Rules Officials and teaches Advanced Rules at the Golf Academy of America. Talk about a great resource! Dr. Farran is always emailing out new and different rules scenarios for us to analyze and dissect. The following incident actually happened not too long ago at an event here in Arizona:
Player X, when the Scoring Official asks his group if there are any Rules issues needing to be addressed, responds, “No, a great day of golf. Thank you!”
But 30 minutes later, prior to the close of competition, Player X returns to Scoring and informs the Scoring Official that he may have a problem.
“While having a beer with some friends,” he says, “I learned that I may have a wrong score for hole No. 6.”
“My ball was on the green in two strokes. My putt (from Point A) was short. so I picked up my ball from Point B (did not mark ball) and walked to the edge of the green to go to No. 7 tee. After the rest of the group finished the hole, I was reminded that I didn’t finish, so I placed the ball as near as possible to its original position (at Point A where I putted the first time) and putted short of the hole again to Point C.”
“I picked up the ball (did not mark ball) to walk off the green and was reminded again that I had to putt out. I placed the ball where I picked it up (at Point C) and finished the hole. I thought I had done everything fine, but the guys at lunch say I might have a penalty for something that I did.”
**There are three important key concepts that need our attention in this incident:
1) incorrect score for a hole on a returned score card, discovered prior to the close of competition, due to penalties incurred that were not known by the player (Rule 6-6d),
2) breach of Rule 20-1 for lifting a ball under a Rule that requires replacement without marking its position, and
3) if a player plays a ball from where the original ball was last played the player is deemed to have proceeded under Rule 27-1a.
Here’s a breakdown of the strokes:
|2||To get to putting green|
|1||Putt from Point A to Point B|
|1||Rule 20-1 (lifting ball without marking)|
|1||1||R 27-1a (ball replayed from where last played, Point A)|
|1||Rule 20-1 (lifting ball at Point C without marking)|
|1||Ball replaced at Point C and final stroke into hole|
|2||Breach of Rule 6-6d for incorrect score on score card|
|5||5||Score for hole #6 is 10 strokes|
In individual stroke play:
1. Player A arrives on the putting green before Player B arrives and marks Player B’s ball on the putting green and lift’s Player B’s ball. After Player A putts, he replaces Player B’s ball, lifts the marker, and informs Player B that he had lifted and replaced Player B’s ball.
**No penalties were incurred by either player. Rule 18-4 permits a fellow-competitor to lift or move a competitor’s ball without penalty. Rule 20-3a permits a ball that has been lifted or moved to be replaced by the person who moved or lifted the ball.
2. Player C arrives on the putting green before Player D arrives and, without thinking, picks up a ball on the putting green that Player C believes is a stray ball. He then realizes the ball was Player D’s ball. Player C places the ball as nearly as possible to where the ball originally lay and informed Player D of his mistake when Player D arrived at the green.
** No penalties were incurred by either player. Rule 18-4 permits a fellow-competitor to lift or move a competitor’s ball without penalty. Rule 20-3a permits a ball that has been lifted or moved to be replaced by the person who moved or lifted the ball. Player C replaced the ball properly in accordance with Rule 20-3c(iii).
3. Player E arrives at his ball in the fairway and realizes that his ball is several inches ahead of Player F’s ball. Realizing that his ball might interfere with Player F’s ball, Player E marks his own ball and lifts his ball. After Player F plays, Player E replaces his ball and continues the hole.
**Note 1 to Rule 22-2 permits Player E to lift his ball that might interfere only if asked to lift the ball by Player F. When Player E marked and lifted his ball without a request by Player F, Player E incurred a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2.