Friday, February 14, 2014

Ask Linda #794-Extra club discovered after close of competition

Hi Linda,

Hoping you can clarify this for me.

I recently played in my club championship tournament with successful results. (I shot my best round in 4 years). I did win a fairly decent prize. 

Three days after the tournament, as I was preparing for my next round, I noticed a club in my bag that was not mine. It appears that someone, (possibly myself?) may have picked up the wrong wedge, greenside, and either handed it to me, or possibly they picked up mine and I picked up the wedge that was left. I am surmising that it would have had to have been very late in the round, such as one of the last 2 holes or even after the last hole, because while the difference was minute, I did notice it immediately upon looking at my clubs 3 days later, and I don’t believe I would have pulled it out of my bag to use it during the tournament without noticing the difference.  Another possibility is that after the tournament round was complete, someone switched the clubs while my bag sat outside the clubhouse.

My question is: Does this affect my tournament score?  (I won by 3 strokes). I have scoured the Rules of Golf and many websites and cannot find anything that addresses this.

Thank you,

Dear Lou,

In scouring the Rules, you must not have made it to the very last Rule, #34, which contains the answer to your question.

Rule 34-1b states that a penalty must not be imposed after the close of the competition. There are exceptions, but discovering an extra club in your bag three days later is not one of them.

You can stop feeling guilty, and start enjoying your newfound fame and (small) fortune with a clear conscience.

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