Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ask Linda #1006-Preferred lies restricted to own fairway

Hi Linda,
Could you please clarify a ruling:

I recently played in a tournament and the Local Rule for the day was preferred lies.
I hit my ball onto the adjacent fairway but was advised before doing so that the preferred-lie ruling only applied on the fairway of the hole I was playing. I played the ball as it lay.
I did ask for confirmation from another person once the tournament was finished and they confirmed the same.

Is this correct?

Lou from Spain

Here is the question I posed to Lou:

Lou, was the Local Rule announced or written? Please let me know exactly what was said or written.

And Lou’s reply:

I believe it was written, part of a list of rules of the day for the competition handed to me prior to my competition start time. I am unable to remember the exact wording. Never thought the actual wording was that important, I just assumed "winter rules were winter rules."

Finally, my answer:

Dear Lou,

If the only instruction you received was to play “preferred lies” (also called “winter rules”), you would be permitted to mark, lift, clean, and place the ball if it were lying on any closely-mown area “through the green.” This means you would be entitled to relief on any fairway (not just the fairway of the hole you are playing) and on any path through the rough or any other part of the course that has been cut to fairway height or less [Appendix I, Part B, Rule 4c].

In adopting preferred lies for a tournament, the Committee may specify a more restricted area than “through the green.” For example, it may limit preferred lies to the fairway of the hole you are playing, or limit preferred lies to a particular hole or holes. Any limitation on preferred lies should be clearly communicated to the competitors.

This is why I asked whether you received specific instructions regarding preferred lies. If the directive were simply that “preferred lies are in effect,” you should have been entitled to a preferred lie any time your ball was lying in grass cut to fairway height or less anywhere on the course.

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