Monday, July 22, 2013

Ask Linda #693-Lift ball without marking

Dear Linda,

During a recent stroke play tournament, which had roving Rules officials on the course, two players approached one of the officials on the 6th tee about an incident that had happened on the 4th green.

One player had lifted his ball a few inches off the putting surface when his fellow competitor noticed he had not marked it. Without moving position, the player replaced his ball at a spot agreed between them as the original place where the ball had come to rest and they completed the hole correctly.

I know that Rule 20-1 states that a ball lifted without being marked under a Rule that requires this to happen is subject to a one-stroke penalty, but how would you have ruled in this particular instance when no advantage was gained by the player in question?

If the players concerned had not reported it, the incident would have passed unnoticed by the officials. The Rules official in question did in fact penalise the player one shot after having had the situation explained.

Lou from the UK

Dear Lou,

The player lifted his ball without marking it. The penalty is one stroke and the ball must be replaced. Every official would rule the same way. The issue is not whether an advantage was gained, but whether a Rule was violated.

Golf relies on the integrity of each player. While I’m sure that Rules violations go unpunished from time to time, due to the ignorance of the players involved, players should always report occurrences where they are uncertain of the proper procedure and be prepared to abide by the ruling of an official.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.