Click here if you are receiving this blog by email and cannot view the video.
This video shows that Camilo definitely moved a loose impediment from the likely path of his ball in motion. This is a clear breach of Rule 23-1, part of which states;
When a ball is in motion, a loose impediment that might influence the movement of the ball must not be removed.In stroke play the penalty is two strokes, but the fact that Camilo returned his signed score card without including the penalty, which he obviously did not realise he had incurred, means that he will have to be disqualified.
This is a Rule that is not breached very often by players themselves. Obviously, most balls that are struck are moving in a forward direction faster than the player could catch them up. So, this Rule is more likely to be breached by a competitor, who thinks that another player’s ball may be influenced by a loose impediment and removes it as a ‘favour’.
If the object moved by Camilo had been an obstruction (artificial) and not a loose impediment (natural) the ruling would be the same. Part of Rule 24-1b states;
When a ball is in motion, an obstruction that might influence the movement of the ball, other than equipment of any player or the flagstick when attended, removed or held up, must not be moved.The latter point is worth repeating as the moving of a removed flagstick by a player whilst a ball is in motion used to incur a penalty, until 1st January 2008 when the Rule was revised.
Edit: In a statement released by the tournament, Villegas said,
“While it’s obviously a disappointing way to start the season, obviously the rules are the rules, and when something like this happens, it’s important to me that you’re respectful of the game and the people involved.”Once again the integrity of the game of golf and the professionals that play it are the winners.
If you have found this blog interesting and you are not already subscribed to ‘Rhodes Rules School’, a series of weekly emails where I use photographs to illustrate rulings regularly encountered by golfers on the course, then I recommend that you do so now. There is no charge and you can unsubscribe at any time. Click here. I have just passed the 5,000 satisfied subscribers goal.