Friday, November 29, 2013
Ask Linda #753-Ball moves on green
During a match play contest, I was on the green and as I was taking a practice stroke behind the ball my ball moved, but I did not cause the ball to move. I waited until it stopped, about one half of a revolution, then addressed the ball and putted in. My opponent said that I was supposed to have replaced the ball before putting. At the US Open at Merion, the same thing happened to a player who called in a rules official and did exactly as I had done – he played the ball where it had come to rest.
Is there a scenario where the ball would have to be replaced to its original position? What if I had addressed the ball but not caused it to move?
Lulu from Massachusetts
If it is known or virtually certain that you did not cause your ball to move (whether you have taken a practice stroke away from the ball or have addressed the ball), there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies. If there is some dispute as to what caused the ball to move, the player is not given the benefit of the doubt – she incurs a one-stroke penalty and the ball must be replaced [Rule 18-2b]. In your scenario, your procedure was correct.
The ball must always be replaced when a player is responsible for moving it. If she replaces the ball, the penalty is one stroke; if she hits the ball without replacing it, the penalty is two strokes [Penalty for Breach of Rule 18-2a].
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