Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ask Linda #888-Provisional ball holed

Hi Linda,

I wonder if you can help with this rules conundrum?

My fellow competitor and I both hit our original balls on a par 3 into the woods and fearing they may be lost we both play a provisional ball.  My fellow competitor’s provisional ball is poorly struck and also finishes in trouble while my provisional ball flies onto the green and into the hole for a 3. 

I clearly don't want the original ball found and have no intention of looking for it, however my fellow competitor does wish to find his original ball so that he can either hack it onto the green or at the very least declare it unplayable and return to the teeing ground.

If my provisional ball were teetering on the lip I could rush forward and put the provisional ball into play by tapping it in. I could then go and help my fellow competitor safe in the knowledge that even if we find my original ball it is now ‘lost’.  However, I cannot play the provisional ball again to make it the ball in play because it has been holed.

Do I have to wait 5 minutes while my fellow competitor searches, knowing that if he inadvertently (or deliberately!) finds my original ball he is obliged by the rules to inform me and I am obliged by the rules to identify it and play it, or does holing the ball automatically make it the ball in play? Or is there some other way I can make it the ball in play apart from teeing off on the next hole?

I’m sure you can help.  Thanks in advance.
Lou from the U.K.

Dear Lou,

As soon as you take your provisional ball out of the hole it will become your ball in play. The trick is to do this before your original is found. If your fellow competitor finds your original ball within five minutes and before you lift your provisional out of the hole, you must abandon the provisional and proceed with the original [Decision 27-2b/2]. You might want to invest in a good pair of running shoes for just such an occasion!

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