Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Attached Divot Causes Canizares a Problem

Canizares bad lie. Top image by Stuart Franklin – Getty Images

It is just as well that Alejandro Canizares of Spain had a lead of 7 strokes when he played his second shot to the 18th hole on his final round, at the Trophee Hassan II in Agadir, Morocco, on Sunday. It obviously minimised the frustration that he must have felt on realising that he had a really unlucky lie, after his ball had rolled back down a steeply sloping green and settled immediately behind an attached divot that almost covered his ball. I cannot imagine why the divot was left in this shameful condition at the end of a four day event, during which the only players on the course had professional caddies with them and there were also marshals present. Being charitable, let us hope that a bird may have lifted the divot in seeking some juicy grubs for dinner!

I am sure that many golfers who were watching this final hole of this competition were wondering why Canizares was not permitted to remove the divot, by the Rules Official that he called on to give him make a ruling. The answer lies in this part of Rule 13, Ball Played as it Lies;
A player must not improve or allow to be improved:
    the position or lie of his ball,

    the area of his intended stance or swing,
    his line of play or a reasonable extension of that line beyond the hole, or
    the area in which he is to drop or place a ball,
by any of the following actions:
    pressing a club on the ground,
    moving, bending or breaking anything growing or fixed (including immovable obstructions and objects defining out of bounds),
    creating or eliminating irregularities of surface,
    removing or pressing down sand, loose soil, replaced divots or other cut turf placed in position, or
    removing dew, frost or water.
When a divot is still partly attached to the ground it is ‘something fixed’ and cannot be moved, if by doing so the circumstances of a player’s next stroke might be improved (Decision 13-2/5). But when a divot is completely detached, it is a loose impediment and can be moved anywhere on the course, except from a hazard, when the player’s ball lies in that hazard.

Finally, Rule 13-2 clarifies that a divot that has been replaced may not be removed or pressed down, if by doing so the player gains a potential advantage with respect to the position or lie of their ball, the area of their intended stance or swing, or their line of play.

Good golfing,

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Anonymous said...

Some one in the previous group, I cannot remember who - maybe the young Dane - played his ball almost exactly from the same place i.e. very close to the divot. The divot was already there and I wondered a lotwhy he did not repair that.

Barry Rhodes said...


Interesting! Thanks.


Anonymous said...

I made the 1st comment and add: if you go to European Tour internet pages and watch video "Day 4 Highlights - Trophee Hassan II" you can see in the beginning of that video Magnus A. Carlsson making a very long par with his putter from the front of the 18th green. You can see the very same divot that caused problem to Canizares to the right of Carlsson's ball. Maybe Magnus was so exited for his excellent par that forgot to repair someone else's divot.