Monday, April 25, 2011

Ask Linda #293-Wrong ball?

Hi Linda.

Stroke play tournament.

Lulu A hits Lulu B's ball 185 yards onto the green.

B goes to what she thought was her ball, discovers it's actually A's ball and declares that A has hit a wrong ball.

What does B do? Her ball is now 185 yards up the fairway. A tells B to simply play another ball. B places the new ball in the correct spot and plays to the green where they pick up the original B ball.

Question: Since B did not finish the hole with the same ball as was used from the teeing ground and it was not lost or otherwise unplayable, has B played a wrong ball?
Have a great day,
Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

Sometimes the wording in the rule book can be very subtle. When a rule talks about “the” ball, it means the very same ball you hit into whatever predicament it is in. On the other hand, when it talks about “a” ball, it means you are permitted to substitute another ball.

Rule 15-3b explains that if Player A hits Player B’s ball, then Player B must place a ball on the spot where her ball lay before it was hit by Player A. The players in your tale did everything correctly. Lulu B was required to place a ball (not the ball), and that is precisely what she did. Lulu B was permitted to substitute another ball after Lulu A hit her ball, so Lulu B did not hit a wrong ball and she incurs no penalty.

Indeed, if the rules required you to retrieve your ball when someone else hit it, then you might be obligated to fish your ball out of a hazard, climb an out-of-bounds fence, or march 185 yards to a putting green. What a nightmare!

Copyright © 2011 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.