Monday, February 18, 2019

Ask Linda 1857-Penalty for practice

Hi Linda,
It's a busy time at the moment.
A query arose at the weekend regarding Rule 5.2.
Before a stroke play competition at the weekend a group of 3 players practised chipping and putting onto the 18th green whilst awaiting their tee-off time.
Previously this would have meant disqualification. However, currently under Rule 5.2b there would be the general penalty for the first breach and disqualification for a subsequent breach.
Would you please clarify the following:
If a player plays numerous chips and putts, is that one breach?
If, prior to playing his round, a player practices on the course, moves away but then returns to practice again does that then become a separate breach?
Lou from France

Dear Lou,

It is my understanding that the two-stroke penalty for practice is for the first breach of the Rule. The first breach would be one single act, such as one practice stroke. The player would be disqualified for a second act, such as a second practice stroke. 

Here is a clarification of Rule 5.2 that was published by the USGA/R&A in December 2018:

Rule 5.2
First Breach Happens When First Stroke Made:
The penalty for the first breach of Rule 5.2 applies when a player commits a single act (such as making a stroke). The disqualification penalty for the second breach applies when that player commits any subsequent act that is not allowed (such as rolling a ball or making another stroke). These are not treated as related acts under Rule 1.3c(4).

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