Graeme McDowell and the Bumblebee
Having encountered a venomous cottonmouth snake during his practice on Tuesday, Northern Irishman, Graeme McDowell, had another run-in with nature during his final round on Sunday. He noticed that there was a bumblebee hovering over his ball-marker on the 4th putting green and in trying to brush it away, he accidentally knocked his ball-marker several inches away from where it was marking the position of his ball. Apparently, he was then wrongly advised by a watching Rules official that he had incurred a penalty of one stroke and he must replace the ball-marker where it was. Presumably, the official reasoned that as the ball-marker was not moved in the act of marking the ball, Rule 18-2a had been breached. McDowell reportedly said;
"It was clumsy so I reckoned I deserved the penalty."Fortunately, a couple of holes later, he was approached by none other than Sir Michael Bonallack, Augusta member and past Captain of the R&A GC, and the European Tour's Chief Referee, John Paramor, who gave him the welcome news that no penalty had been incurred. Part of Rule 23-1 states;
On the putting green, if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved in the process of the player removing a loose impediment, the ball or ball-marker must be replaced. There is no penalty, provided the movement of the ball or ball-marker is directly attributable to the removal of the loose impediment. Otherwise, if the player causes the ball to move, he incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a.Note that insects are defined as loose impediments in the Definitions at the front of the Rules of Golf book.
"I asked Sir Michael and John if there was any chance they could stay with me for the rest of the round, as they were the only way I'd get back shots around here,"joked McDowell, who having made Friday’s cut, found the putting very difficult and finished with disappointing rounds of 76 and 73.
Tiger and the Chair.
If you were watching the final round, you may have seen Tiger Woods hit a wild drive into the trees, resulting in his ball coming to rest under a chair with bushes and trees close by. Unfortunately, the cameras did not stay with this situation and when they returned to his predicament he was about to play his ball clear of any obstruction or bushes. This confused me at the time, but I guessed that the chair must have been fixed and that he had taken relief from an immovable obstruction. However, a subscriber has since clarified that Tiger was given free relief from a temporary immovable obstruction (TIO) on his line of play. A TIO is a non-permanent artificial object that is often erected in conjunction with a competition and is fixed, or not readily movable. Examples include, but are not limited to, tents, scoreboards, grandstands, television towers and lavatories. As a high handicapper I was able to take line of play relief from a TIO once, when I played the Irish Open course on the day after the tournament and the spectator stands had not been dismantled.
Dustin Johnson’s Ball Moves
During his final round, Dustin Johnson was trying to get a read on a birdie putt when his ball started rolling down the steeply undulating green towards the hole. As regular readers will know, because Dustin had not addressed his ball and did not cause it to move, he had to play his next stroke from where it came to rest, in this case about 15 feet closer to the hole. And yes, he made his birdie. You can view the incident on this six seconds Vine clip. How is it that whenever this has happened to me, my ball ends up much further from the hole?
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