Friday, November 22, 2013

Ask Linda #750-Gravity or address moves ball


Thanks so much for sharing your rules knowledge. Today we had a case where one player was about to putt. She had marked her ball and in doing so had noticed a badly repaired old plug mark right where her ball was to be replaced. She repaired the plug mark, placed her ball and addressed it.

As she addressed the ball, it moved, about a full turn, no more (not an oscillation as it did not return to same position) due to the unevenness of the green where the plug mark had been repaired.

She replaced the ball and gave herself a one stroke penalty but wasn't really sure if that was correct. The wind did not move it but you could say gravity did. It was in match play and she lost the hole because of the penalty stroke. Can you let me know if that was correct?
Lulu from Australia 

Dear Lulu,

Ordinarily, if the ball moves after address the player incurs a one-stroke penalty [Rule 18-2b]. The exception to this Rule exempts the player from penalty if it is “known or virtually certain” that the player did not cause the ball to move. Any doubt about what caused the ball to move would be resolved against the player.

Wind and water are examples of two elements that might be responsible for the movement of a ball after address. Gravity is not an element that may be considered responsible [Decision 18-2b/11]. The player proceeded correctly in assessing herself the penalty stroke. 

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