Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Ask Linda #309-Ball lands in raked area
Linda, I thinned my bunker shot out of a greenside bunker into a bunker on the other side of the green. I raked the bunker and walked round to play my next shot. If I had thinned that bunker shot back into the original bunker, onto the area that I had raked, would I be penalised for preparing or improving my lie?
Dear Lou Lou,
There is no penalty, Lou. You always have permission to rake the sand in the bunker after you hit your ball out of the bunker [Exception 2 to Rule 13-4; Decision 13-4/38].
Thanks for your prompt reply. I have an interesting supplemental question regarding the smoothing of the bunker. Say you were in Thomas Bjorn's position at the Open Championship at Royal St Georges in 2003. If you remember, he is on the 16th and plays his bunker shot out onto the green but it slowly rolls back into the bunker. If he had had the presence of mind, could he have smoothed his footprints while the ball was still trickling back and incurred no penalty if the ball had finished on the smoothed area?
Dear Lou Lou,
Thomas Bjorn would have gotten himself into big trouble if he had done that. When a player’s ball is in motion, he is not permitted to do anything that would affect the position or the movement of the ball [Rule 1-2]. The penalty for doing so is two strokes (loss of hole in match play).
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