|Photo: Getty Images|
An amusing Rules incident occurred at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last Friday. Paul Casey was eyeing-up an eagle putt on the par-5, 12th green at Kingsbarns Golf Links in St. Andrews when a dog picked-up his ball from the putting green and ran off with it. As you can see from the photo, Casey tried to persuade the dog to drop his ball, presumably nearer to the hole, but it ran off gripping it with its teeth. A sprightly spectator caught the ball thief on the 13th and retrieved Casey's original ball, which he correctly replaced on the green where it had been at rest and took his putt.
This was a simple application of Rule 18-1, which states;
If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced.Let us now consider what the ruling would be on similar situations;
Note: It is a question of fact whether a ball has been moved by an outside agency. In order to apply this Rule, it must be known or virtually certain that an outside agency has moved the ball. In the absence of such knowledge or certainty, the player must play the ball as it lies or, if the ball is not found, proceed under Rule 27-1.
• No-one actually witnessed the dog moving or taking the ball from the putting green.(Edited 11th Oct 12) Providing it is known or virtually certain that a dog, or other outside agency, took a ball, the player may replace another ball if the original ball cannot be easily retrieved, or has been rendered unfit for play (e.g. by teeth marks).
If it is not known or virtually certain that an outside agency moved the ball, the player must play the ball as it lies or, if the ball is not found, proceed under Rule 27-1 under penalty of stroke and distance.
• (Edited 11th Oct 12) The player’s ball in motion on a putting green, after a stroke made from off the putting green, was picked-up by a dog that then dropped it in a bunker.
The player must place the ball, without penalty, as near as possible to the spot where the ball was when the dog picked it up from the putting green, Decision 19-1/6.
• The player’s ball in motion after a stroke on the putting green was picked-up by a dog that then dropped it in the hole, or off the putting green.
The stroke is cancelled and the ball must be replaced and replayed, Rule 19-1b.
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