Thursday, 20 July 2017

Internal Out of Bounds at the 2017 Open Championship

An interesting Local Rule was introduced for the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. During early practice rounds last week, officials realised that some players may be considering an alternative route on the 9th hole, aiming their tee shots towards the 10th fairway. This route (the dotted line in the photo) gave them a straight shot to a generous fairway with the potential of a shorter second shot to the putting green, avoiding having to take on the 9th's dog-leg fairway (the solid line in the photo). The R&A reacted quickly and on Tuesday their chief referee, David Rickman, notified players that the following Local Rule would apply for the duration of The Open;

Out of Bounds – 9th Hole
Please be advised that the following Local Rule is being introduced on safety grounds:

“When playing the 9th hole only, a ball on or beyond the 10th fairway (defined by the edge of the closely-mown area) is out of bounds.”

There will be no white stakes or lines used to define or indicate this boundary


Although this Local Rule states that there will be no stakes or lines to define or indicate the boundary, it is this Decision 33-2a/12 that provides permission for Committees to introduce an internal out of bounds;

Q. It is proposed to install boundary stakes between two holes as a safety measure. It would prevent players playing a dog-leg hole from driving onto the fairway of another hole in order to cut the "dog-leg." Is it permissible to establish such a boundary?

A. Yes. For the recommended status of such boundary stakes, see Decision 24/5.


The reference to Decision 24/5 is to recommend that in a situation where there are stakes defining an internal out of bounds, the Local Rule should deem them as immovable obstructions during play of the relevant hole. Note that for the 2017 Open Championship a ball played from anywhere on the 9th hole is only out of bounds if it comes to rest on the closely mown area of the 10th hole, or beyond, and not if it is in any rough, bunker, or putting green between the 10th fairway and anywhere on the 9th hole. (edited 21st July)
   
Not receiving ‘Rhodes Rules School’ emails?
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‘Tommy’s Honour’
I am not a regular filmgoer, but I recently made an exception. ‘Tommy's Honour’ is a historical drama film, depicting the lives and careers of, and the complex relationship between, the pioneering Scottish golfing champions, Old Tom Morris and his son Young Tom Morris, both of St. Andrews, the Home of Golf. As a film it is unremarkable and will probably not win any awards, though the scenic photography is stunning. But for anyone who has even a casual interest in the history of golf and two of golf’s founding fathers, it is time well spent. Perhaps surprisingly, my wife also greatly enjoyed the film, which aside from the golfing backdrop, thoughtfully handles class warfare, romance, and the sometimes hostile father and son relationship. I recommend it to all golf enthusiasts.

Good golfing,


 


The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2017 and may not be copied without permission.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Marking Position of Ball during Play of a Hole

A question that some amateur golfers seem to have a problem with is which Rules situations require the position of a ball to be marked and which do not? An easy rule of thumb to assist you with this question is that when the ball is to be replaced at the same spot it was lifted from, it must be marked before it is touched.  

The ball has to be marked before being touched:
  • On the putting green, Rule 16-1b. 
  • For identification, Rule 12-2. Note that this is one of the most frequently breached Rules; you are not permitted to touch your ball in play to positively identify it without marking it first, even if you merely rotate the ball on its spot and do not lift it. 
  • Ball assisting play, Rule 22-1. Note that the ball-marker does not have to remain immediately behind where the ball was at rest. In order to avoid mental interference to the other player while the stroke is being made, once the ball-marker has been placed where the ball was at rest the player might measure one or two club-heads to the side, or even a club-length to the side, providing the routine is accurately reversed when it is being replaced. 
  • Ball interfering with play, Rule 22-2. (Note same as above). 
  • To determine whether relief under a Rule is available (e.g. whether a ball is embedded, or unfit for play), Rule 5-3 and Decision 20-1/0. (This bullet point was edited 13th July 2017.)
If a ball is not marked when the Rules require that it must be, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke and the ball must be replaced. If it is not accurately replaced before the next stroke is made at it, the penalty increases to two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play, for playing from the wrong place, but there is no additional penalty under Rule 20-1. So, for example, there is no additional penalty if the ball was lifted because it was interfering with play of another ball, and then placed (or dropped) and played from a wrong place.

A ball does not have to be marked:

  • When it has been deemed unplayable, Rule 28. 
  • When relief is being taken from an immovable obstruction, Rule 24-2. 
  • When relief is being taken from a (lateral) water hazard, Rule 26-1. 
  • When relief is being taken from an abnormal ground condition, which includes ground under repair, casual water and hole, cast or runway made by a burrowing animal, Rule 25-1. 
  • When relief is being taken from a wrong putting green, Rule 25-2. 
  • Under some Local Rules, e.g. relief from a staked tree.
There are occasions when the Rules do not require that the position of a ball is marked, but when it might be advisable to do so:
  • Moving a movable obstruction, Rule 24-1. Note that if a ball moves while a movable obstruction is being moved it must be replaced, so it may be advisable, though not required by the Rules, to mark its position before removing the obstruction.
A ball to be lifted under the Rules may be lifted by the player, his partner or another person authorised by the player. In all these cases the player is responsible for any breach of the Rules, including not marking its position when the Rules require that it must be marked.

Of course you do not have to bother remembering any of the above regarding marking a ball before lifting it. If you take the precaution of always marking the ball before touching it you will avoid any penalty for getting it wrong.

Jon Rahm Marking Incident
At the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Portstewart last Sunday there was another marking and replacing Rules incident. It involved the latest Spanish golfing sensation and runaway winner, Jon Rahm. For a detailed explanation of the ruling by European Tour chief referee, Andy McPhee, click on this Sky Sports video link. I am not going to comment any further, other than to say that I supported the Lexi Thompson ruling last April and now support this Jon Rahm ruling.

Good golfing,


 


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The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2017 and may not be copied without permission.