Monday, June 7, 2010

Ask Linda #210-Picking up another player’s ball

Hi Linda,
In tournament play is a player penalized for accidentally picking up another competitor’s ball during play?
Here's the situation:
Player A hits his tee shot into the left trees and announces that he will hit a provisional.
Player B hits his tee shot onto the right center of the fairway.
Player C hits his tee shot into the right rough.
Player A hits his provisional into the right rough.
The group moves forward and player A finds his original tee shot in the left trees and asks player B to pick up his provisional ball in the right rough. Player B accidentally picks up player C's ball that is also in the right rough. Is there any penalty to player B and what procedure should be followed?
Thank you.
Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,
There is no penalty in stroke play for accidentally lifting another competitor’s ball. The ball must be replaced [Rule 18-4].
The ruling is the same in match play if a player moves his opponent’s ball during a search. However, if a player moves his opponent’s ball at any other time, the player incurs a one-stroke penalty (in match play only) and the ball must be replaced [Rule 18-3].
Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.
Thank you Linda. When the ball is replaced, is the player required to drop it or may it be placed?
Dear Lou Lou,
Neither. The ball must be replaced. Either the player himself or the opponent who lifted the ball must replace it. It must be placed on the precise spot from which it was lifted.
There are specific rules and penalties regarding placing or replacing a moved or lifted ball. Please take a moment and review Rule 20-3.