Here is what Rule 20-2 has to say about how to drop a ball;
A ball to be dropped under the Rules must be dropped by the player himself. He must stand erect, hold the ball at shoulder height and arm’s length and drop it. If a ball is dropped by any other person or in any other manner and the error is not corrected as provided in Rule 20-6, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke.Now have a look at this video, courtesy of Golf Channel (after the 12 seconds ad). Note how her caddie (incorrectly) demonstrates what she must do before she drops her ball;
Click here to view the YouTube video.
So, I think that everyone will agree that a penalty was definitely incurred, as the ball was not properly dropped from shoulder height. How can any golfer become a professional without knowing this simplest of Rules? How can any caddie allow their player to make such an elementary mistake without stepping-in? If the caddie had told Sun Young Yoo that she had dropped her ball improperly, she could have picked it up and dropped it again, this time according to the Rules, without incurring a penalty. Rule 20-6 states;
A ball incorrectly substituted, dropped or placed in a wrong place or otherwise not in accordance with the Rules but not played may be lifted, without penalty, and the player must then proceed correctly.Just as worrying for me was the commentary following the improper drop. It seems that Sun Young Yoo, her caddie, and her fellow competitors were all unsure what to do when her ball bounced outside of the permitted two club-lengths when she dropped it under penalty of one stroke, having deemed her ball unplayable. Apparently, the fellow competitors thought that if the ball rolled outside of the permitted area of drop you should re-drop. When in fact, the ball may roll up to a further two club-lengths from where it first strikes a part of the course within the permitted area, providing it does not roll nearer to the hole, Rule 20-2c(vi). If a player does pick up a ball that is in play, thinking that they may re-drop it, there is a penalty of one stroke, which increases to two strokes if the ball is then dropped instead of being replaced at the spot that it was lifted from.
NEW: I am pleased to announce that I am making my ‘99 Tips on Using the Rules of Golf to Your Advantage’ (previously published on DVD) available as a downloadable .pdf file, which can be read and printed out from any computer. More details and a link to specimen pages here.
The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2012 and may not be copied without permission.