Friday, 23 November 2012

Sun Young Yoo Penalised for Improper Drop

Ridiculous though it may seem, a lady tournament golfer was penalised one stroke for dropping her ball in an improper manner last week. The incident occurred during the final LPGA event of the year, at the CME Group Titleholders held at TwinEagles, Naples, Florida.

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.

Good golfing,

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.



Anonymous said...

We must be missing some part of the video or explanation. She properly took her two-clublength relief but improperly dropped the ball. Why couldn't she simply correct her mistake and incur no penalty. According to what I see and hear she did not pick her ball up or make a stroke at it. She called over an official who must have told her that her ball was in play. Did she later get penalized after someone saw the video?

Barry Rhodes said...


Yes, this is exactly what happened. The referee did not witness the drop, so although he/she correctly ruled that the ball was in play having rolled just outside the two club-lengths, he/she was not aware of the improper drop. Sun Young Koo was subsequently penalised after many viewers had drawn attention to the penalty.


Anonymous said...

Two points I'm wondering about:-

1. If the rules oficial made a ruling that the ball was in play, isn't that binding?

2. How did the ball roll outside the two club lengths? When she drops the ball it is on a slope downwards towards the bush she has just declared the ball unplayable from. From the video it looks impossible that the ball rolled uphill. Maybe it finished closer to the hole?

Barry Rhodes said...

1. The referee ruled that the ball was in play without having seen the incorrect way that the ball was dropped. If Sun Young You had been told that she dropped the ball incorrectly at this point she could have picked it up and dropped it again. However, as soon as she made a stroke at the ball she incurred the dropping penalty of one stroke.

2. The commentator viewing the incident said the ball "bounced outside" the permitted two club-lengths. If the ball had rolled nearer the hole she would have had to re-drop, which would also have avoided the dropping penalty, providing she dropped her ball properly the second time.


Anonymous said...

Barry, a re-drop is only required if the ball rolls closer to the hole than its original position. It can roll closer to the hole when dropped, and only must be re-dropped if it rolls closer than the original spot.