"Don’t take a practice swing behind your ball in play."Take a look at what happened to Justin Rose during the third round of the 2013 BMW Championship, when he made a divot with a practice swing.
Justin was penalised one stroke for causing his ball to move, under Rule 18-2a. Fortunately, he correctly replaced his ball where it was and avoided incurring an additional penalty for playing from the wrong place.
In the same event Tiger Woods did incur the additional penalty for playing from the wrong place when he did not replace his ball, which was subsequently adjudged to have moved by no less than the redoubtable PGA Tour VP of Rules and Competition, Slugger White. If you view this video clip, courtesy of PGA Tour, you will see the (not very clear) evidence that led to the penalty. Watch closely the markings on Tiger’s ball, as he first touches the stick, a loose impediment, which he is carefully trying to remove from where it is lying against his ball.
Before returning his score card Tiger was shown this video clip. White said that Tiger had thought his ball had only oscillated slightly. So, what is the difference between a ball moving and oscillating? Here is the Definition of Move or Moved;
A ball is deemed to have “moved’’ if it leaves its position and comes to rest in any other place.When a ball oscillates it swings from side to side but returns to exactly the same spot.
If Tiger had recognised that his ball had moved he would have been able to replace it for a penalty of one stroke. Because he did not think it moved the penalty imposed by the officials increased to two strokes, under Rule 20-7a, because he played his ball from the wrong place, even though it might only have been a dimple away. The relevant part of Rule 20-7b states;
A player has played from a wrong place if he makes a stroke at his ball in play:As I write this, I know that probably half of the readers will think that Tiger was treated unfairly on this occasion, whereas the other half will think that he knew the ball had moved and he should have called the penalty on himself. It is obvious that Rules incidents involving Tiger Woods provoke sharply polarized opinions!
(i) on a part of the course where the Rules do not permit a stroke to be made or a ball to be dropped or placed; or
(ii) when the Rules require a dropped ball to be re-dropped or a moved ball to be replaced.
* Click on this link for details on my eDocument, '99 Tips on Using the Rules of Golf to Your Advantage'.
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