Monday, August 15, 2011

Ask Linda #336-Ball moved

Dear Linda,
What is the definition of "ball moved"? Is it considered as moved when the ball just vibrates slightly but does not move away from its original resting place? Should a player be penalized when he accidentally touches his ball (by hands, by a ball marker or by a club) and causes the ball to vibrate but not move away?
Thank you,
Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

The Definition of a moved ball is as follows: “A ball is deemed to have ‘moved’ if it leaves its position and comes to rest in any other place.” If the ball oscillates but then returns to its original position, it has not moved. Let’s take a look at your three examples:

1. If you purposely touch your ball in play, you are penalized one stroke. If it moves, you must replace it [Rule 18-2a].

2. If you touch your ball with a club in the act of addressing it, then
    a. if the ball oscillates but then returns to its original position, there is no penalty [Decision 18/2];
    b. if the ball moves, you must replace it and you will incur a one-stroke penalty.

3. If you accidentally move your ball in the process of marking it, there is no penalty and the ball or ball marker must be replaced [Rule 20-1]. The key here is that the movement of the ball must be directly attributable to the act of marking it. If your putter slips out of your hand and moves the ball as you’re bending over to mark it, you are subject to the one-stroke penalty.

Copyright © 2011 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.