Wednesday, 27 March 2013

So You Are Going to Play Match Play!

 
I have a new, downloadable document that I think will be of interest to those readers that play, or are anticipating playing, match play golf. If you have been following my blogs on the Rules you will be aware that there are several Rules for match play that are significantly different to those for stroke play. More about this later.

First, I want to highlight one particular area of difference in these two formats of golf, which relates to the situation where one player observes another player breaching a Rule of Golf. In match play, players may choose to ignore any breach of the Rules made by an opponent, because only the players on each side of their match are involved; there is no responsibility to protect the interests of other players entered in the same competition. Whereas in stroke play, a competitor who knows that a fellow competitor has breached a Rule, even if they are not their marker, should bring to light the transgression by notifying the player, their marker or the Committee, because in this case the interests of every other player in the competition are affected if a competitor returns a score that does not include a penalty that they had incurred.

However, there is a very important aspect to this option of ignoring an opponent’s breach of a Rule in match play that I want to emphasise, as I have seen many players open themselves to disqualification by not being aware of it. A player who observes an opponent’s breach of Rule and does not want to penalise them for it, usually out of courtesy when the breach is something unintentional that does not result in any benefit, must keep quiet and not mention it, at least until one of them has teed off at the next hole (edited 29th March 2013). Because, if they do bring the breach to the attention of their opponent, but do not then penalise them for it, both sides should be disqualified for agreeing to waive a Rule. Decision 1-3/4 states;

Failure of Players to Apply Known Penalty
Q. In a match, a player discovers at the 2nd hole that he has 15 clubs in his bag contrary to Rule 4-4a, but his opponent refuses to apply the penalty. The extra club is declared out of play and the match continues. The Committee disqualifies both players. Is this correct?

A. Yes. Since the players agreed to waive the penalty, they should be disqualified under Rule 1-3.
Although, in the above Decision it was the player who realised that he had breached a Rule and the opponent acquiesced, the same principle applies if it was the opponent who had discovered the 15th club, had pointed it out to the player, but then said that he was not going to impose the penalty incurred. Both players are disqualified under Rule 1-3.

If the above has been of interest to you, I am sure that you will benefit from knowing all of the differences between match play and stroke play Rules. I have authored a comprehensive document detailing them over 19 headings. I am confident that by reading this document just once you will be better prepared for match play golf, whether you are a team manager, team member, or an individual who enters match play competitions. It could make the difference between you winning or losing!

The introductory price of ‘So You Are Going to Play Match Play!’ is just $7 (€5.50 / £4.50). Click on this link for more details and to purchase.


Good golfing,



The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2013 and may not be copied without permission.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Marking a Ball on the Putting Green

Photo: Golf.About.com














Marking a ball on the putting green seems like a simple process that shouldn’t cause too many Rules issues, but it is worth considering what is permitted and what is not.

•    Lifting a ball from the putting green without marking its position first incurs a penalty of one stroke, Rule 16-1b.

A ball on the putting green may be marked, lifted and cleaned at any time, except that a ball that might influence the movement of the ball in motion must not be lifted.
•    The position of the ball must be marked before it is lifted.
•    There is no limit to the number of times that a player may mark and lift their ball from the putting green, providing they do not unduly delay play.
•    Before making their putt the player must replace their ball at the exact spot from where it was lifted.
•    A ball to be lifted under the Rules may be lifted by the player, their partner or another person authorisd by them, Rule 20-1.
•    If a ball is accidentally moved while it is being marked there is no penalty, provided the movement of the ball, or the ball-marker, is directly attributable to the specific act of marking the ball’s position or lifting it, Rule 20-1.
 
However, moving your ball-marker by accidentally dropping your ball or equipment (e.g. glove or cap) on it is not considered to be directly attributable to the act of marking the ball and incurs a penalty of one stroke, Decision 20-1/15. See this link for detail of Ian Poulter breaching this Rule in 2010.
•    When marking a ball before lifting it the player should use a small coin or other similar object as a ball-marker immediately and they should place it immediately behind the ball. 
Note that there is no penalty if a player uses some other object to mark their ball (e.g their putter head, a tee or a loose impediment), providing it is physically marked; it is not sufficient to use an existing mark on the ground to mark the position of a ball, Decision 20-1/16. 
Also, there is no penalty if the ball-marker is placed other than behind the ball, providing you do replace the ball in the correct position later. Naturally, the traditional method is to place the marker behind the ball and I strongly recommend that all golfers use this method to avoid confusion.
•    If the ball-marker interferes with the play, stance or stroke of another player, it should be placed one or more clubhead-lengths to one side. There is no restriction as to how a ball is marked to the side. Providing the ball is accurately replaced at the same spot by reversing the exact steps used to move it to the side.
•    If a ball is replaced at a spot on the putting green other than where it was lifted from and subsequently played from this wrong place, the player incurs a penalty of two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play, Rule 20-7.

Good golfing,






Have you checked out my three quizzes on the Rules of Golf; General, Match Play and Juniors. Click here for details.


The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2012 and may not be copied without permission.

 

Friday, 15 March 2013

Tiger’s Ball Unplayable in a Palm Tree


Tiger Woods suffered a minor setback on the 17th hole of his 3rd round at WGC - Cadillac Championship at the TPC Blue Monster Course at Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami, Florida. His faded tee shot kept drifting in the wind and dropped straight into one of several palm trees to the right of the fairway, lodging where the leaves grow from the stem.


If you are receiving this blog by email click on this link to view the PGA Tour video of Tiger's stroke into the palm tree.

There are a few interesting issues in this Rules situation. The first is whether the player is able to positively identify their ball. At the very start of the video clip the person to Tiger’s left appears to be using binoculars to locate the ball. Decision 14-3/3 confirms that standard eyeglasses and binoculars that have no range-finder attachments are not artificial devices within the meaning of the term in Rule 14-3 and may therefore be used by the player, or anyone else, to find and identify a ball. If a player can clearly see a ball in the tree, which is most likely theirs, but they cannot positively identify it by its markings, then they have to treat their ball as lost and proceed under penalty of stroke and distance (Rule 27-1).

Interestingly, the Rules permit a ball to be identified by the testimony of a spectator (Decision 27/12). I remember an incident involving Phil Mickelson in the 2001 NEC Invitational in Ohio when, although neither he nor his caddie had put his usual identification marks on a ball that he had played into deep rough, they received timely notification of TV camera evidence showing that a ball they had found in the area was indeed the ball that Phil had played and so he was permitted to continue with it.

Having identified his ball and wisely decided not to climb the tree to play it as it lay (!) Tiger deemed it unplayable and took relief under penalty of one stroke. In the circumstances, where the ball was lodged high in the palm tree, he obviously had to substitute another ball, but had he been able to retrieve his original ball he could have chosen to clean it and continue play with it. In taking relief, the reference point for the drop under Rule 28 options b) and c) is immediately below the place where the ball lay in the tree. The option that Tiger chose was to drop a ball within two club-lengths of that reference point not nearer the hole, but he also had the option of dropping a ball behind the reference point keeping that point directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind that point the ball may be dropped. Of course, the third option under Rule 28 is to proceed under the stroke and distance provision of Rule 27-1, by playing a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played, which in Tiger’s case was the teeing ground.

A final interesting Rules point is that if a player deems their ball unplayable in a tree overhanging a putting green and they opt to take relief under Rule 28c, they must drop their ball on the putting green; one of the few occasions where a ball does not have to be placed on the putting green (Decision 28/11).

Good golfing,




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The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2013 and may not be copied without permission.
 

Friday, 8 March 2013

Ground Under Repair (GUR)



















Most golfers know that they may take relief without penalty from ground under repair (GUR), but do they always know what constitutes ground under repair and what does not?

Ground under repair is any part of the course so marked by order of the Committee, usually defined by stakes and/or lines. When ground under repair is defined by stakes the margin is an imaginary line between the outside points of the stakes at ground level; when defined by a line on the ground, the line itself is in the ground under repair. Ground under repair is an abnormal ground condition, which are covered by Rule 25-1.

So far, so good. We all recognise GUR when a white circle has been drawn around course damage, perhaps with a sign stuck in the middle, but in which of the following situation may a player take relief from GUR?

When their ball lies…
a)    … in a deep tyre rut made by a course maintenance vehicle?
b)    … outside of an area marked as GUR, where one foot of the natural stance is inside the margin?
c)    …in a crack in parched earth behind a putting green?
d)    … behind the sawn down stump of a tree?
e)    … outside of an area marked as GUR but in a position where overhanging branches of a tree rooted in GUR interferes with the intended area of swing?
f)    … against a pile of wood logs that have been stacked in the process of sawing the trunk and branches from a fallen tree.
g)    … in a hole from where a distance post has been removed and left lying alongside.
h)    … just touching a white line defining GUR.

Answers:
a)    No relief. Decision 25/16.
b)    Relief is available. Rule 25-1a.
c)    No relief. Decision 25/12.
d)    No relief. Decision 25/8.
e)    Relief is available. Definition of Ground Under Repair. Trees and other growing things rooted within the ground under repair are part of the ground under repair. Decision 25-1a/1.
f)    Relief is available. Definition of Ground Under Repair. Ground under repair includes material piled for removal, even if not so marked.
g)    Relief is available. Definition of Ground Under Repair. Ground under repair includes a hole made by a greenkeeper, even if not so marked.
h)    Relief is available. Definition of Ground Under Repair. When the margin of ground under repair is defined by a line on the ground, the line itself is in the ground under repair.

How did you do? All of the above questions and answers are covered in my eBook, “999 Updated Questions on the Rules of Golf 2012-2015”. Details can be found at this link.

Here is one final point to remember regarding GUR. Rule 25-1b states that a player may take relief from interference by an abnormal ground condition; they do not have to if they consider that the lie that they may have after taking relief could be less favourable. However, many Committees, with the intention of protecting damaged areas of the course, will introduce a Local Rule making it mandatory to take relief; so always check first.

Good golfing,




The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2013 and may not be copied without permission.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Ball Assisting or Interfering with Play – Rule 22

Ball A interfering with play of ball B

















There is often confusion between players as to when you may lift your ball, or have another player’s ball lifted, when it is assisting or interfering with play. Here are five questions to start you thinking about Rule 22.

1.    Do the Rules permit you to lift your ball through the green when you think that it is interfering with the play of a fellow competitor?

2.    Do the Rules permit you to lift your ball if you think that it is assisting the play of any other player?

3.    In stroke play, are you permitted to play your ball first rather than lift it at the request of another player?

4.    Are you permitted to clean your ball if a fellow competitor requires that you lift it from the fairway because it interferes with their intended stroke?

5.    Do you have to mark your ball before lifting it when you think that it may assist another player’s play, or when another player requires you to lift it because it interferes with their play?

Now check your answers with reference to Rule 22 (or scroll to the end of the Rule for the answers);

22-1. Ball Assisting Play
Except when a ball is in motion, if a player considers that a ball might assist any other player, he may:
a. Lift the ball if it is his ball; or
b. Have any other ball lifted.
A ball lifted under this Rule must be replaced (see Rule 20-3). The ball must not be cleaned, unless it lies on the putting green (see Rule 21).
In stroke play, a player required to lift his ball may play first rather than lift the ball.
In stroke play, if the Committee determines that competitors have agreed not to lift a ball that might assist any competitor, they are disqualified.
Note: When another ball is in motion, a ball that might influence the movement of the ball in motion must not be lifted.

22-2. Ball Interfering with Play
Except when a ball is in motion, if a player considers that another ball might interfere with his play, he may have it lifted.
A ball lifted under this Rule must be replaced (see Rule 20-3). The ball must not be cleaned, unless it lies on the putting green (see Rule 21).
In stroke play, a player required to lift his ball may play first rather than lift the ball.
Note 1: Except on the putting green, a player may not lift his ball solely because he considers that it might interfere with the play of another player. If a player lifts his ball without being asked to do so, he incurs a penalty of one stroke for a breach of Rule 18-2a, but there is no additional penalty under Rule 22.
Note 2: When another ball is in motion, a ball that might influence the movement of the ball in motion must not be lifted.
Answers:
1. No - Note 1 to Rule 22-2.
2. Yes - Rule 22-1a.
3. Yes - Rule 22-1.
4. No - Rule 22-2.
5. Yes - Rule 20-1.


To summarise the most important points of Rule 22:

  • If a player considers that a ball at rest might assist any other player they may lift it if it is their ball, or have any other ball lifted.
  • A ball lifted under this Rule must be replaced and must not be cleaned unless it was on the putting green.
  • You may always ask for another player to lift their ball if you consider that it interferes with your play, either physically or mentally (Decision 22/1).
  • You may not lift your ball if you think that it may interfere with another player’s stroke unless it is on the putting green; it is up to the other player to ask for your ball to be marked if they think that it interferes.
  • Rule 22 is intended to cover situations where there is a reasonable possibility that one ball might assist or interfere with another ball. If the Rule is being abused, e.g. by a player repeatedly requesting that a ball that lies tens of yards away and not close to the hole be lifted, the Committee would be justified in penalising them for undue delay, Decision 22/3.
  • Rule 20-1 requires that the position of a ball must be marked before it is lifted under any Rule that requires it to be replaced, otherwise the player incurs a penalty of one stroke.

Many of us in the Northern Hemisphere are eagerly preparing for a new golfing season. If you are interested in improving the understanding of the Rules of Golf in your Club or Society I recommend that you check out my 3 individual quizzes (36 Q&As in each) specifically developed for i) General, ii) Juniors and iii) Match Play. These have now been put to use in many Golf Clubs around the world and I have received great feedback from those that have organised club social evenings around them. They are minimally priced at  $8 / €6 or £5 each and you can obtain more information at this link.

Good golfing,



 

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2013 and may not be copied without permission.