Monday, February 24, 2014

Ask Linda #799-Friendly competition within official tournament

Hi Linda,
Hope you are keeping well.
In a club singles strokes competition playing in groups of four, one of the groups decides to play a friendly four-ball match during the competition.
Also they agree in advance to play the match play order of play from each teeing ground during the round.
What is the ruling please?
Kind regards,
Lou from Ireland

Dear Lou,

I am going to assume that when you say “match” you don’t mean you are playing under the rules for match play in the middle of a stroke play competition. That would be a major fiasco, and would lead to disqualification [Rule 33-1].

I gather that four men playing together in an individual stroke play competition have decided to make the day a bit more interesting by breaking into two teams and playing a four-ball (aka “better ball”) stroke play competition amongst themselves.

I am a bit leery of sanctioning this, as you might become so involved with your “friendly match” that you inadvertently accrue a penalty in the individual competition.

You must be very careful to observe only the rules of the individual competition during play. You may not give advice to one another, and you may not pick up (obviously). While there is no penalty for playing out of order in stroke play, a pre-arranged agreement to tee off on every hole in the order of who won the previous hole in your private competition is a little dicey. I would not recommend doing so – you might run into a Committee that feels you are getting an advantage by playing out of turn, which would be grounds for disqualification [Rule 10-2c].

My recommendation would be to play the tournament straight up as an individual tournament, following all rules to the letter, and agree that you will match your cards after the round to see which “team” would have come out ahead in a four-ball. This will keep you out of trouble.

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