Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Ball Lodged Between Spectator's Legs

A month ago, in Malaysia, Pablo Larrazabal had to jump into a lake, mid-round, having been badly stung by more than 30 hornets. Which is why he tweeted the following, after another bizarre golfing incident happened to him.

This humorous Rules incident occurred during the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Club last week. Larrazabal's 3rd stroke to the 18th green lodged between the legs of a spectator, who is an outside agent in the Rules of Golf. Of course, most of us would have let the ball fall to the ground, but not this stoic character, who stood there with the ball clenched between his legs until the player reached him. Ignoring all the obvious puns, how does the player proceed in this sitaution and under which Rule? Rule 19-1a states;
If a player’s ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped by any outside agency, it is a rub of the green, there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies, except:
a. If a player’s ball in motion after a stroke other than on the putting green comes to rest in or on any moving or animate outside agency, the ball must through the green or in a hazard be dropped, or on the putting green be placed, as near as possible to the spot directly under the place where the ball came to rest in or on the outside agency, but not nearer the hole....
So, Pablo Larrazabal had to retrieve his ball (very carefully!) from between the spectator's legs, ask him to move aside and then drop it as near as possible to the spot directly under the place where it had been retrieved from.

I cannot leave the subject of the BMW PGA Championship without adding my congratulations to Rory McIlroy, who proved that some top players can concentrate their minds on their golf game, no matter what external pressure they may be experiencing. Congratulations also to Shane Lowry, from Co. Offaly in Ireland's midlands, who was one stroke behind Rory, in second place. As someone who has lived in Ireland for the past 37 years, I completely agree with these sentiments, copied from Shane's personal web site;

“Ireland is a place that welcomes you in without even trying.  Maybe it’s our social nature or the amazing scenery or the buzz of simply going for a pint. Maybe it’s the craic, that indefinable feeling that embodies Irish fun. Whatever it is, and despite all the rain, I’m proud to be from one of the most beautiful places on earth.”
If any readers are planning a golfing trip to Ireland and will be passing through Dublin, please let me know, as it would be my pleasure to meet with you, if it can easily be arranged.

Good golfing,

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2014 and may not be copied without permission.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Padraig Harrington's Ball 'Jumps' out of the Hole

Was he lucky or unlucky? Padraig Harrington’s short approach shot to the par-4 11th hole at the HP Byron Nelson Championship on Sunday, bounced once on the putting green, into the hole and, seemingly impossibly, popped out again coming to rest just inches away from the lip. I am sure that if this happened to some amateur golfers they would claim that their ball was holed, as it disappeared below the lip and obviously touched the bottom of the hole. But this ignores the part of the Definition of Holed that states that the ball has to be at rest;
A ball is “holed” when it is at rest within the circumference of the hole and all of it is below the level of the lip of the hole.
Here is a short video of the incident, courtesy of PGATour.com.

Those of you that receive my ‘Rhodes Rules School’ photo series (click here if you don't!) may remember reading about a favourite Rules incident of mine that a fellow Club member assures me actually happened! Following a putt from the putting green a player’s ball was dropping into the hole when it landed on a frog that was taking a rest inside the hole. Naturally, the frog hopped out of the hole and deflected the ball away. As we saw from the Harrington incident above, the ball was not holed, but how does the player proceed in this situation? Rule 19-1b, Ball in Motion Deflected or Stopped by an Outside Agency, provides the answer;
If a player’s ball in motion after a stroke on the putting green is deflected or stopped by, or comes to rest in or on, any moving or animate outside agency, except a worm, insect or the like, the stroke is cancelled. The ball must be replaced and replayed.
Now that was unlucky!

Good golfing,

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2014 and may not be copied without permission.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Fine Line between a Ball Oscillating and Moving

Justin Rose (Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
The team of PGA Tour Rules officials at TPC Sawgrass narrowly avoided bringing the Rules of Golf into disrepute late on Saturday evening, when they correctly reversed their earlier, perplexing ruling that had imposed a two strokes penalty on Justin Rose. I did not see the incident, but it seems that after Justin had addressed his ball on the last hole of his third round, he saw it oscillate, or move, and called over his fellow competitor, Sergio Garcia, to explain what had happened, but that in his view the ball had not moved from its spot. I understand that they then both watched a replay of the incident on a nearby video screen and concluded that there had been no breach. At the time of writing there is a short video clip of Rose addressing the ball at this link. In my opinion, this clip supports Rose’s contention that from where he was standing, over the ball, it did not move from its spot. However, after more than 30 minutes reviewing the incident on multiple broadcast feeds in three different trucks, including one feed where the ball was magnified x 50 (can you believe it?), the officials came to the conclusion that the ball had indeed moved, and they imposed a penalty of one stroke on Rose, under Rule 18-2b, which increased to a penalty of two strokes, because he had not replaced the ball; where it was before it was deemed to have moved (Rule 20-7c).

Why, prior to this ruling being made, none of the officials realised that Decision 18/4 was directly relevant to the incident is beyond me. This new Decision provides that, where enhanced technological evidence (e.g. HDTV, digital recording or online visual media, etc.) shows that a ball has left its position and come to rest in another location, the ball will not be deemed to have moved if that movement was not reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time. This was obviously the case and happily, after USGA and R&A experts had been involved, it was agreed that the penalty had been wrongly imposed and it was rescinded. A detailed explanation from the PGA Tour, with the full wording of Decision 18/4, can be read at this link.

I think that it might be useful here to clarify the difference between a ball moving and oscillating. The Definition of 'Move' or 'Moved' states;

A ball is deemed to have “moved’’ if it leaves its position and comes to rest in any other place.
Whereas, a ball oscillates when it rocks backwards and forwards without leaving its spot. Most of us will have experienced our ball oscillating in a high wind, but some golfers may not be aware that there is no penalty if a player touches their ball with a club, causing it to rock off its spot, providing it returns to its original position. This is confirmed by Decision 18/2;
Q. In addressing the ball, a player accidentally causes the ball to oscillate, but it returns to its original position. Has the ball "moved"?
A. No.
Common sense eventually prevailed at THE PLAYERS Championship in TPC Sawgrass. Let us hope that penalties will never again be imposed for a movement of a ball that is not reasonably discernible to the naked eye.

Good golfing,

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2014 and may not be copied without permission.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

‘Rhodes Rules School’ Housekeeping

Lee Trevino ad David Feherty - Golfchannel.com
This week I am taking a break from Rules of Golf issues. First, let me share with you a nice story that I understand Lee Trevino told about himself on Golf Channel’s David Feherty show, about a year ago;
One day, shortly after joining the PGA tour in 1965, Lee Trevino, a professional golfer and married man, was at his home in Dallas, Texas, mowing his front lawn, as he always did. A lady driving by in a big, shiny Cadillac stopped in front of his house, lowered the window and asked, "Excuse me, do you speak English?" Lee responded, "Yes Ma'am, I do." The lady then asked, "What do you charge to do yard work?" Lee said, "Well, the lady in this house lets me sleep with her." The lady hurriedly put the car into gear and sped off.
Now, I hope that my regular subscribers will forgive me for using the remainder of this week’s blog to try and clarify the situation regarding my weekly ‘Rhodes Rules School’ emails, as I am receiving an increasing number of queries from those that are out-of-sync with others they know who also receive them.
  • ‘Rhodes Rules School’ started with the ‘Photo Series’ of 99 issues, in March 2010. 
  • This was followed by the ‘How Many Strokes?’ series of 99 issues, in February 2012.
  • This was followed by the current ‘9 Questions About …..’ series of 99 issues, in January 2014.
So, those that have been with me from the very beginning are now on issue No.19 of ‘9 Questions About …..’, whereas those that started subscribing only this week are on issue No.1 of the original ‘Photo Series’.

At the end of each series, I make the complete set of 99 issues available for purchase in a single, convenient, downloadable document. All issues have been updated with the January 2014 amendments to Decisions on the Rules of Golf.

If any subscriber wants to progress to a different series, so as to be in sync with friends or fellow club/society members, they can purchase the full set and ask me to advance them. Here are the links to purchase the full sets (price $9, €7 or £6).

‘Rhodes Rules School’‘Photo Series’

‘Rhodes Rules School’‘How Many Strokes?’

I am also taking this opportunity to provide links to the other eProducts I have developed for golfers who want to obtain a better understanding of the Rules;

eBook – ‘999 Updated Questions on the Rules of Golf 2012-2015’

Three Quizzes – General, Match Play and Juniors

eDocument – ‘99 Tips on Using the Rules of Golf to Your Advantage’

eDocument – ‘So You Are Going to Play Match Play!’

Finally, if you know of other golfers who have an interest in the Rules and are not yet taking advantage of receiving my free, weekly ‘Rhodes Rules School’ emails, or my free, weekly blogs on the Rules, would you please advise them of my email address, or email me with theirs. I can assure you that no-one is added to these two lists unless they respond positively to a verification email, confirming that they want to subscribe, there is no charge, recipients may unsubscribe at any time and I do not share contact information with anyone else.

Thank you and good golfing,

P.S. My thanks to all of you who have written to me expressing your appreciation for my content on the Rules. I really appreciate the feedback.
The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2014 and may not be copied without permission.