Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ask Linda #228.5-Match play questions

Hi Linda–

I have three match play questions:

1. A person marks the ball on the green and forgets to pick up her ball. Is it a penalty if the other player hits her ball?

2. A player is on the green and puts her putter behind the ball to align the writing with the hole. Is this allowed or is this a penalty for not marking the ball before moving it?

3. The team match is starting play on the third hole. At the end of the 18 holes the match is tied. Do they continue on the 3rd hole till a tie is broken or do they start at hole one?


Dear Lulu,

1. Even if both balls lie on the putting green prior to the stroke, there is no penalty in match play for hitting another ball on the putting green. The player who putted will play her ball as it lies; the ball that was moved must be replaced [Rule 19-5a].

(In stroke play, the player who putted the ball would incur a two-stroke penalty. The player who neglected to lift her ball is not penalized. It is the responsibility of the person putting to notice that there is a ball in her way and ask to have it marked and lifted.)

2. The answer depends on what you mean by placing the putter behind the ball. If the player places the toe of the putter at the side of or behind the ball to mark it’s position, and then proceeds to adjust the alignment of the ball, that is an acceptable (albeit not recommended) way to mark a ball. If she places the flat side of the putter behind the ball, then this would not be acceptable, as no particular spot is being marked.

A ball may also be marked with a tee or even a loose impediment (again, neither is a recommended procedure). You may not, however, mark a ball by referring to a blemish on the putting green; you must physically mark the ball [Decision 20-1/16].

3. Play is continuous. If you start on the third hole, and your match is tied after play of the second hole (the eighteenth hole of play), then you would continue on to the third hole and keep on playing the holes in order until someone wins a hole.


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