Friday, January 9, 2015

Ask Linda #977a-Ball moved by crow

Hi Linda,

I wonder if you could help with this question re: an incident in today's match.

A friend put the ball on the green for three and a crow swooped down and gently nudged the ball towards the hole. We all tried to scare the bird away but eventually the crow put the ball in the hole!

We all agreed that the shot should count, and my friend was rewarded with a “birdie,” but in the club house this question was raised: If the crow had taken the ball away, then a replacement ball would have to be returned to the spot where the ball was last at rest.

The player suggested this should have occurred in this situation and the birdie should not have counted. Your thoughts please, Linda.

Lou from Sydney, Australia

Dear Lou,

The crow is an outside agency. When a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced [Rule 18-1]. Regardless of whether the ball was moved by a bird, a dog, an elephant, or a spectator, the ball must be replaced. If the ball cannot be recovered, the player is entitled to substitute another ball, assuming it is certain the “stolen” ball was his.

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