Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ask Linda #431-Is the match over?

Dear Linda

Some time ago we were playing match play and after 18 holes we ended up “all square.”
The flight waiting on Hole #1 was so kind to give way for our 19th hole. (I mention this to point out that there was some time pressure to avoid slow playing.)
My drive went to the left, rolled on the side slope and disappeared into the semi rough. We agreed not to hit a provisional ball. After searching for 2 or 3 minutes, I decide to give up the ball and even the match. Walking back a few meters I discovered my ball hidden under a leaf. Was I allowed to continue play with the “lost ball?”

Lou from Belguim

Dear Lou,

If you told your opponent that you were conceding the match, the match was over. A concession may not be withdrawn [Rule 2-4]. Shake your opponent’s hand and pick up your ball.

If you were simply thinking about conceding, but did not say anything to your opponent, then you could continue play. You searched for less than five minutes, so your ball was not “lost” under the Rules.

I understand the pressure you felt to hurry your play. Choosing not to hit a provisional ball, however, was in no one’s best interest. If you decided to return to the tee because your ball was lost, you would have inconvenienced the players behind you even further. Provisional balls are a time-saver for everyone.

Keep in mind, for the future, that when both groups are involved in matches, the group graciously allowing you to play through does not expect you to race through the hole. Your responsibility is to get to your ball quickly and play the hole at a good pace. You should not feel pressured to rush your shot; you should only rush everything that happens between your shots.

I’m puzzled by your statement: “We agreed not to hit a provisional ball.” The decision whether to hit a provisional is yours and yours alone to make. If you thought your ball might not be found, then the prudent procedure is to hit a provisional ball. Your opponent has no say in the matter.

Copyright © 2012 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.