Sunday, 14 August 2011

Playing Out of Turn / Late on Tee

The above tweet from Bubba Watson, with Ian Poulter’s reply, were sent on Saturday, after the third round of the PGA Championship in Atlanta. This good natured banter on Twitter is a useful introduction to who has the ‘honour’ on the teeing ground. In strokes competitions, the competitor with the lowest score at a hole takes the honour at the next teeing ground. The competitor with the second lowest score plays next and so on. If two or more competitors have the same score at a hole, they play from the next teeing ground in the same order as at the previous teeing ground. However, the important thing to remember is that there is no penalty for playing out of turn in stroke play, unless the Committee determines that competitors have agreed to play out of turn to give one of them an advantage, in which case they are disqualified. No doubt Ian Poulter made a mistake in ‘stealing’ Bubba Watson’s honour, but his only penalty was the subsequent ribbing that followed. If you read my blog from last week you will remember that in Stableford competitions the competitor with the lowest net score (i.e. the most points scored) at a hole takes the honour at the next teeing ground.

I covered this subject of playing out of turn in more detail in this previous blog entry.

Another Rules issue that arose during the PGA Championship was when Brandt Snedeker showed up 2 mins & 15 secs late for his 8:10 am tee time and was penalised two strokes. Some readers may be confused as to why Snedeker was not disqualified, as Rule 6-3a clearly states;

The player must start at the time established by the Committee.
Penalty for Breach of Rule 6-3: Disqualification.
However, there is a Note to the same Rule that states;
The Committee may provide, in the conditions of a competition (Rule 33-1), that if the player arrives at his starting point, ready to play, within five minutes after his starting time, in the absence of circumstances that warrant waiving the penalty of disqualification as provided in Rule 33-7, the penalty for failure to start on time is loss of the first hole in match play or two strokes at the first hole in stroke play instead of disqualification.
I guess that this Condition of Competition operates for most tour events for professionals, but in my experience this in not true for most member club competitions. In these cases, anyone who is not present on the first teeing ground for their allotted tee-time should properly be disqualified from the competition.

Like many others before him Brandt Snedeker learned the hard way;

"I thought my tee time was 8.20 and it was at 8.10," Snedeker said. "That's the first time that's happened in my career, and I guarantee it'll be my last."
There was no mention as to why his caddie had not alerted him to the correct tee time. So, what was the consequence of Snedeker receiving a penalty for being late? He was playing three off the first tee and went on to card a 73, missing the cut and a decent pay cheque, by? Yes, you guessed it...!

Good golfing,

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Colin MacGillivray said...

This is a rule that should be changed to encourage faster play. "Ready golf" is what it says. Whoever is ready plays. How many times to two people on opposite sides of the fairway ask each other who is furthest from the hole. Much better to play when ready but if both delay then the furthest from the hole has the obligation to hit. Of course since the rules have no penalty for this in stroke play it happens a lot anyway.

Barry Rhodes said...


I certainly agree with the concept of 'Ready Golf'. However, if the Order of Play Rule was done away with it might encourage fellow competitors to assist each other by playing out of turn on occasions (e.g. on similar lines of putt), which would obviously be detrimental to the other competitors in the competition. I think that the status quo is good.