If you regularly play in Club stroke play competitions you will know that from time to time issues can occur that affect the results, even after they have been announced. For example, this may be due to a Committee member leaving a winning card in the competition box, or a possible discrepancy on a player’s score card that has been signed and returned. Committees need to know the circumstances in which they may, or may not, impose or rescind a penalty after the winners of the competition have been determined. Part of Rule 34-1 states;
In stroke play, a penalty must not be rescinded, modified or imposed after the competition has closed. A competition is closed when the result has been officially announcedSo, if the competition winners have been announced, e.g. at a prizes presentation or by the results being posted on a notice board, and it comes to light that a winner may have unknowingly played one hole from the wrong teeing ground, the announced result stands. However, there are some important exceptions to this principle. In the above scenario, if the player did know that they had played from a wrong teeing ground, but continued play of the hole and recorded a score for that hole before signing and returning their score, they must be disqualified if the breach is later revealed. Here are the exceptions to Rule 34-1b;
A penalty of disqualification must be imposed after the competition has closed if a competitor:If a Committee makes a mistake in determining the competition winners, they must bite the bullet and correct their error, with no time limit on them revising the result. Decision 34-1b/6 rules;
(i) was in breach of Rule 1-3 (Agreement to Waive Rules); or
(ii) returned a score card on which he had recorded a handicap that, before the competition closed, he knew was higher than that to which he was entitled, and this affected the number of strokes received (Rule 6-2b); or
(iii) returned a score for any hole lower than actually taken (Rule 6-6d) for any reason other than failure to include a penalty that, before the competition closed, he did not know he had incurred; or
(iv) knew, before the competition closed, that he had been in breach of any other Rule for which the penalty is disqualification.
Q. In a stroke-play event, the winner's prize is awarded to B. The next day A advises the Committee that he had returned a lower score than B. A check reveals that A is correct and that, in error, the Committee had failed to post A's score. What should be done?Of course, it is rare for Committees to make mistakes!
A. Rule 34-1b does not apply to Committee errors of this kind. The prize should be retrieved from B and given to A, the rightful winner.
With the Open Championship starting at Royal Lytham & St Annes on Thursday, I would like to draw your attention to the four short video clips that the R&A has posted of breaches of the Rules that occurred at previous Open Championships staged at the same venue. Click here to view the R&A videos.
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