Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Ask Linda #357-Provisional: Where and When
I’m a new subscriber and I have a question about a provisional ball situation.
Assume a player hits a good shot off the tee box on a par 5. His second shot will have to go over an environmental/waste hazard area directly to his front. The player hits his second ball thin, which may or may not have cleared the hazard.
Question: Can that player go forward to the edge of the hazard (maybe 30 yards or more forward) to hit a provisional ball before going forward to see if the first ball cleared the hazard? Or must the provisional ball (if that option is chosen) be hit from the same spot from where it was last struck? It is my understanding that a provisional ball must always be hit from the same place before going forward.
I believe that if the player goes forward to hit a “provisional” second shot he has not truly hit a provisional ball but has put that ball into play.
Can you please clarify this issue?
Thank you very much.
If a player wishes to hit a provisional ball, he must hit that ball from the spot where he hit the original ball [Rule 27-2a]. There is no such thing as walking forward 30 yards to hit a provisional ball.
Since there is no certainty in this situation that the ball is in the hazard, the player has three choices:
1. Play a provisional from where he hit his second shot.
a. If he finds his original outside the hazard, he must abandon the provisional and continue with the original.
b. If he finds his original in the hazard, he must abandon the provisional and choose one of the relief options under Rule 26 [Decision 27-2a/2.2].
c. If he does not find the original, he must continue play with the
2. Go forward to search for the ball. If he does not find it, he must return and hit another ball from the spot where he hit his original ball, adding a one-stroke penalty to his score.
3. Hit another ball from where he hit his second shot. This is not a provisional ball unless he declares it to be so. It is his ball in play under stroke and distance [Rule 27-1a]. The original ball is now officially “lost;” if he finds it he may not play it.
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