Monday, November 8, 2010

Ask Linda #254-Lifting another's ball

Hi Linda,
In a two player better ball match play tournament, the following situation occurred. The competition was being held under preferred lies (lift, clean, and place) due to wet conditions. Two balls lay in the fairway. Player A marked a ball, picked it up, and was cleaning the ball as he walked about 10 yards forward to check a sprinkler head for yardage. While doing this Player A realized the ball he had picked up belonged to Player B. Player A returned the ball to the place where it had lain and walked away. Player B noticed what had happened and asked player A if he had picked up the wrong ball and he replied “yes.” Does Player A incur a penalty for picking up the ball that belonged to Player B?
Thank you.
Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

Yes. Playing preferred lies does not affect other Rules of Golf. Simply because a player is permitted to lift, clean, and place his own ball does not mean he is permitted to do the same to his opponent’s ball. In match play, if a player moves an opponent’s ball, the penalty is one stroke, and the ball must be replaced [Rule 18-3b]. In stroke play, there is no penalty [Rule 18-4].

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