It was during this episode that I think I heard the TV analysts make four incorrect statements regarding the Rules, but unfortunately the commentary has not been made available, so I cannot check their exact words. The four statements, two of which were from Butch Harmon and two from ex-Tour Golfer, Howard Clarke, who was the on course reporter, can be summarised as follows;
- You cannot push aside long grasses surrounding a ball to identify it. – Howard Clarke
- You cannot make practice swings in a hazard if it means touching the long grasses while you do so. – Howard Clarke
- You cannot play a ‘wrong ball’ from a hazard. – Butch Harmon
- You cannot take clubs into a hazard. He also intimated that when a wedge was thrown across the creek by Swatton to be deftly caught by Day, a penalty would have been incurred if it had been dropped inside the margin of the hazard. – Butch Harmon
- In searching for a ball anywhere on the course, the player may touch or bend long grass, rushes, bushes, etc., but only to the extent necessary to find or identify the ball. Rule 12-1.
- When making a practice swing, a player may touch, with their club or otherwise, any grass, bush, tree or other growing thing, providing they do not improve the position or lie of their ball, the area of their intended stance or swing, or the line of play. Rule 13-2 and Note to Rule 13-4.
- Since January 2008, when Rule 15-3 was amended, a player is penalised for playing a wrong ball from a hazard. At the same time a related change was made to Rule 12-2, permitting a player to lift a ball in a hazard in order to identify it, providing they follow the correct procedure.
- Players are permitted to take clubs into a hazard and lay them down. Exception 1b to Rule 13-4.
This link is to a report in the Irish Times of an award of almost €275,000 ($370,000) to a lady who was hit by a golf ball whilst standing on the terrace of her own Clubhouse, located South of Dublin, by a ball struck by a player who happened to be playing in the same group as her husband. This substantial award took into account the fact that no-one had shouted the customary warning of “FORE”.
P.S. Congratulations to Rory McIlroy (and Rickie Fowler). The future of golf is in very good hands!
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