Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ask Linda #312-Drop and place confusion

Dear Linda,
Decision 28/11 and Ask Linda #290 [published in April] state that you should "drop a ball on a putting green," but Rule 20-5d states the ball "must be placed on the putting green." So, I would appreciate your comments on "to drop" or "to place" a ball on the putting green.
 Thank you and best regards.
Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

Rule 20-5d is telling you to place your ball on the putting green when you choose to play your next stroke from where your previous stroke was made. You may remember Tiger Woods’ experience with this rule several years ago during the Masters at Augusta National. He putted his ball on a putting green and it went off the green and into Rae’s Creek. One of the options for relief for a ball in a water hazard is to return to where you hit your previous shot. Since Tiger’s previous shot was from the green, he was permitted to place his ball on the green.

You must be careful when reading the rules to note the specific topic under discussion. Rule 20-5d is not saying that a ball is always placed on the putting green. It is saying that in this one specific instance the ball will be placed.

When the rules tell you to drop a ball, as they do in taking two-club relief from a lateral water hazard or an unplayable ball, you are required to drop it. If the location of the drop is on the green, then you will drop it on the green.

When the rules tell you to place a ball, as they do when your ball is on the putting green and you are seeking relief from an abnormal ground condition or an immovable obstruction, you will place it.

Copyright © 2011 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.