Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ask Linda #756-Delayed provisional

Hi Linda,
A question came up after our round today that created major discussion. 
A player drives his tee shot into the rough. He then decides to play a provisional but puts that ball out of bounds. 
He decides to walk down and look for his original ball. Seeing it was very deep rough, he decided to go back and play another provisional ball within the 5 minute time allowance. 
The question that was the topic of discussion was....
Is he allowed to go back to the tee and play another provisional ball if he is within the 5 minute period? 
Lou from Scotland

Dear Lou,

Absolutely not! You must remember that the purpose of a provisional ball is to save time. A provisional ball must be made before the player goes forward to search for his ball [Rule 27-2a].* When the player returns to the tee and hits another ball, that ball becomes his ball in play under stroke and distance [Rule 27-1]. It is in no way another provisional ball.

In your scenario, when the player hits that third tee shot, it will be his fifth shot on the hole. If he happens to find his original ball, it is “lost” [Definition of “Lost Ball”]. He may pick it up and toss it into his bag; he may not play it.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.

*Beginning in 2014, a player may return to the tee to hit a provisional ball provided he has not gone forward more than approximately 50 yards [Decision 27-2a/1.5].