Monday, November 22, 2010

Ask Linda #258-Provisional hits original

A player suspects his ball could be out of bounds and hits a provisional ball. People on an adjoining fairway saw that his provisional ball hit his first ball. Is he penalized for hitting his own equipment?
Thank you
Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

There is no penalty for hitting your original ball with your provisional ball [Decision 18-5/2]. If the original ball was moved when it was hit, and the observers on the adjacent fairway are able to point out the spot where the ball lay prior to being hit, then the original ball must be replaced.

If you were unaware that your original ball was moved, you played it where it lay, and someone later informed you that it had been hit and moved by your provisional, there is no penalty for not having replaced your ball.

If you’re looking for some rationale as to why there is no penalty, see if this works for you. Since a provisional ball does not meet the definition of “equipment” [Section II: Definitions], you have not moved your original ball with your own equipment. It is also not in play in this case, since you have found your original ball and are now required to abandon the provisional. I would venture to say that a provisional ball would be treated like an “outside agency” until it becomes the ball in play. It is not in play until either your original ball is lost and you continue play with the provisional, or you hit the provisional from where the original is likely to be or from a spot closer to the hole than that area.

Copyright © 2010 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.