Tuesday, 15 September 2015

September Miscellany

Overhead power lines at the Royal Golf Club, Copenhagen, Denmark
Thorbjørn Olesen Gets a ‘Mulligan’
Don’t worry, I haven’t abandoned my principles! Olesen didn’t really get a ‘mulligan’, but the effect was the same. Last month, during the Made in Denmark European Tour event, he hit a wayward drive from the 4th teeing ground. As he was teeing-up another ball he received word that his ball had struck an overhead power line. Most courses that have elevated power lines, including this one, have a Local Rule that includes this statement, taken from the specimen Local Rule in Appendix l. Part B, 7b;

If a ball strikes an elevated power line or cable, the stroke is cancelled and the player must play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was played in accordance with Rule 20-5 (Making Next Stroke from Where Previous Stroke Made).
This provides an excellent example of why golfers should never commence a round without familiarising themselves with the Local Rules, whether they are permanent, usually printed on the back of the score card, or temporary, usually posted on a notice board located in a prominent place.

If you are interested in viewing this Rules incident, click on this Golf Channel link and wait until for the advertisement to finish.

Continuing Play of a Hole after the Result Has Been Decided
I am regularly asked whether a player who cannot score any points on a hole in a Stableford competition may continue play of the hole, or whether this constitutes practice and incurs a penalty. This phrase from Rule 7-2 clarifies;
Strokes made in continuing the play of a hole, the result of which has been decided, are not practice strokes.

Decision 7-2/1.7 further clarifies;

This phrase covers situations in which a player plays the remainder of the hole with one ball in play. Its interpretation is not restricted to continuing the play of the hole in accordance with the Rules and includes, for example, situations where a player plays a ball from a spot close to where his original ball went out of bounds or in the area where it was lost.
The same principle applies in match play where a player putts out after their putt has been conceded. Decision 2-4/6;
Rule 2-4 does not cover the question of whether a player may putt out after his next stroke has been conceded. A player incurs no penalty for holing out in such circumstances. However, if the act would be of assistance to a partner in a four-ball or best-ball match, the partner is, in equity (Rule 1-4), disqualified for the hole.
The last sentence in this Decision also applies in stroke play. A four-ball player must not continue play, if by doing so it would be of assistance to their partner. The penalty for doing so is two strokes for each partner. Decisions 30-3f/6 and 30-3f/7 are relevant.

Was Rickie Fowler’s Ball Moved by a Spectator?

I came across an interesting Rules incident that, as far as I can tell, was only reported by 3AW, a radio station operating out of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It concerns Rickie Fowler at last week’s Deutsche Bank Championship in Massachusetts, a PGA Tour event that he went on to win. It seems that following an errant drive into the trees, Fowler’s ball was probably picked-up by a spectator and thrown into a more favourable position. There is blurry ‘evidence’ of this incident at this 3AW link, but I have not been able to corroborate its authenticity with any other source. 

However, the ruling involved is clear. As Rickie Fowler, or his caddie, were obviously not aware that Rickie’s ball may have been moved to a favourable position by a spectator prior to him making his next stroke, he did not incur a penalty. Decision 18-1/3 explains;

Q. In stroke play, a player's ball was moved by an outside agency. Neither the player nor his caddie was aware that his ball had been moved, so the player played the ball without replacing it. He then learned that his ball had been moved. What is the ruling?

A. As it was not known or virtually certain that the ball had been moved by an outside agency when the player played the ball, he proceeded properly and incurred no penalty - see the Note to Rule 18-1.
Good golfing,


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