Friday, 24 February 2012

Differences in Match Play Rules (1)

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With the Accenture Match Play Championship taking place this week in The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Marana, Arizona this week, and those of us in the Northern Hemisphere preparing for our Inter-Club match play competitions, I thought that it would be timely to summarise the main differences between stroke play and match play.

The first point to make is that the Rules of Golf state that certain specific Rules governing match play are so substantially different from those governing stroke play that combining the two forms of play is not practicable and isn’t permitted, Rule 33-1. Hands-up those of you that enter a singles stroke play competition, but because there are four of you in a grouping, you also play a four-ball better ball for a wager. I thought so!

Here are four of the main differences why combining the two formats is impracticable;
•    In stroke play the general penalty for a breach of the Rules is two strokes; in match play it is loss of hole. However, any breach of the Rules that incurs a one stroke penalty in stroke play is also a one stroke penalty in match play.
•    Whereas in stroke play the player must finish every hole by holing out, in match play a player may concede a stroke to his opponent so that he can pick-up without holing out. A player may also concede the hole, or the match. Once given a concession can’t be declined, or withdrawn under any circumstances. So, if you concede a short putt to your opponent, but he putts anyway and misses, it doesn’t matter because he is still considered to have holed out with the putt for the purposes of the match. Rule 2-4.
•    If you are unsure of a Rule, or a procedure, in match play the Rules don’t permit you to play a second ball, as they do in stroke play. What you have to do, is try and resolve the issue with your opponent. If you can’t agree, a claim has to be made before teeing-off at the next hole. You must notify your opponent that you’re making a claim, agree the facts of the situation and make it clear that you’ll be asking for a Committee ruling. Rule 2-5.
•    In both stroke play and match play when balls are to be played from the teeing ground the person with the honour plays first and anywhere else on the course the ball farthest from the hole is played first. However, there is no penalty in stroke play for playing in the wrong order, unless players have agreed to do so to give one of them an advantage, in which case they’re both disqualified. It is different in match play. If a player makes a stroke when his opponent should have played first, there is still no penalty, but the opponent may immediately require the player to cancel that stroke and play again, in the correct order, as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played. In other words, if you think your opponent played a bad shot when he played out of turn you say nothing, but if he played a good shot you can ask him to replace his ball where it was and play again, after you, in the hope that his next shot won’t be as good.

There are a few more differences between the stroke play and match play formats, which I will save for another week.

Good golfing,





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8 comments:

Colin MacGillivray said...

Does anyone know why the rules are different for strokeplay and matchplay? If golf was being invented today it would be a pretty daft idea. Wouldn't the rules be better if stroke play rules applied and matchplay rules were deleted entirely? It would at least save a page or more of blue ink!

Barry Rhodes said...

Colin,

The reason that the Rules are different in match play from stroke play is because totally different mental tactics and pressures apply in the two formats.

In stroke play, the player is competing against a number of other competitors to record the lowest score. golfers play each other, rather than the course. In match play you are playing against an opponent; you witness all their strokes and they yours.

If you study the differences outlined in this blog and the one that will follow shortly, I think you will appreciate the point. For example, it would be inconceivable to be able to offer conceded putts in stroke play, where the rights of all the other competitors are affected, and it would be meaningless to insist that players must hole out on every hole in match play.

As Rule 33-1 states;

Certain specific Rules governing stroke play are so substantially different from those governing match play that combining the two forms of play is not practicable and is not permitted.

Barry

Anonymous said...

Hi Barry, you say "• Whereas in stroke play the player must finish every hole by holing out, in match play a player may concede a stroke to his opponent so that he can pick-up without holing out. A player may also concede the hole, or the match. Once given a concession can’t be declined, or withdrawn under any circumstances. So, if you concede a short putt to your opponent, but he putts anyway and misses, it doesn’t matter because he is still considered to have holed out with the putt for the purposes of the match. Rule 2-4. However, as you mention, a consession cannot be declined. If the player puts after being given the consession he has broken the rule of not accepting the concession. Therefore he loses the hole!! It is not that he is considered to have holed out with the stroke he played. Regards, Mark

Barry Rhodes said...

Mark,

No, you are wrong. In singles match play the hole is lost as soon as a player concedes a putt, so if the opponent insists on putting out they are merely practising (Rule 7-2). The result of the hole cannot be reversed in these circumstances.

Barry

Anonymous said...

Question then please Barry? If a concession cannot be declined or withdrawn, if a put is given - conceded - and the player choses to play the put to show he can get it, if he sinks the put there is no difference, but if he misses the put then surely he has lost the hole. The aim of my question is "intent". If a put is so close as to give a concession, if a player plays after that concession he is refusing the concession and is therefore against the rule, therefore, lost the hole. Thanks again, Mark

Barry Rhodes said...

Mark,

You seem to have missed the critical point that I made in my previous reply. Once a putt has been conceded that player is deemed to have holed out. Rule 2-4 states that a concession cannot be declined or withdrawn. The player's score for that hole is fixed and unchangeable. Decision 2-4/6 specifically rules on the situation;

Rule 2-4 does not cover the question of whether a player may putt out after his next stroke has been conceded. A player incurs no penalty for holing out in such circumstances.
However, if the act would be of assistance to a partner in a four-ball or best-ball match, the partner is, in equity (Rule 1-4), disqualified for the hole.


In summary, please accept my assurance that a player does not lose the hole if he putts and misses after the putt had been conceded. The result of the hole will only depend on their score, which was fixed as soon as the concession was received and the opponent's score.

Barry

Anonymous said...

What about in team play? If a concession is given to prevent a put that would give a read to an opponent, can that person then put out if he choses?

Barry Rhodes said...

This question is answered in my 'So You Are Going to Play Match Play!' eDocument, which can be orchased from www.RhodesRuloesSchool.com/so-you-are-going-to-play-match-play/.

This is the answer:
"Whilst there is no penalty when a player putts out after their next stroke has been conceded, if the act would be of assistance to a partner in a four-ball or best-ball match, the partner is, in equity (Rule 1-4), disqualified for the hole (Decision 2-4/6).

Barry