What happens if your ball is struck by another player’s ball? First, check out this video of José Maria Olazabal’s ball striking José Maria Cañizares’s ball during the 1992 Volvo PGA Championship.
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The easy bit to remember about this Rules situation is that whenever a ball in play and at rest is moved by another ball in motion after a stroke, the moved ball must always be replaced (Rule 18-5). It is a principle of the Rules of Golf that a player is entitled to the lie and line of play that they had when their ball came to rest. When a ball is to be replaced, the player, his partner or the person who moved it must place it on the spot from which it was lifted or moved (Rule 20-3a). The players must make their best judgement to estimate where the ball was lying before it was moved. The player whose ball hit the ball at rest must play their ball from wherever it came to rest.
There is no penalty when a ball played from off the putting green moves another ball. However, in stroke play, when a ball played from the putting green hits another ball on the putting green the person making the stroke incurs a penalty of two strokes. This is not the case in match play, where no penalty is incurred (Rule 19-5a); another example of where match play differs significantly from stroke play. The logic behind this is that in match play no-one else is involved other than the opponents playing the same hole; whereas in stroke play the players are competing against everyone else entered in the competition, whose interests have to be protected.
One interesting Decision on Rule 19-5 is that in stroke play, if a ball putted from the putting green comes to rest touching another ball on the green but does not move it, no penalty is incurred, Decision 19-5/4.
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