Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ask Linda #199-Moving loose impediment while ball in motion

Hi Linda,

I'm watching the golf tournament on TV. During a commercial a "rules" spot was shown. Here's the scenario, in case you were not watching:

A person putts his ball (long putt), a breeze blows some tumbleweed in the path of the ball, he runs up & sweeps it out of the way & the ball goes in the hole. The rules official said the player would be assessed a 2-stroke penalty because you can't do anything after the ball is putted. What if someone else were standing on the green, saw the tumbleweed blow in the path & swept it away?

Regards, Lulu

Dear Lulu,

Once a ball is in motion, any loose impediment that might affect the movement of the ball must not be removed [Rule 23-1]. The penalty for doing so is two strokes (loss of hole in match play).

In the case of your unwelcome tumbleweed (or any loose impediment), if the player himself runs forward and moves it out of the way of his rolling ball, the penalty is the player’s. If a fellow golfer decides on his own to “help out” by moving it, the penalty is the fellow golfer’s. If the player asks another golfer to move the loose impediment, and the other golfer does so, both players are penalized two strokes.

Once a ball has been struck, it is best to stay out of its way and let nature take its course.


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