Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ask Linda #1034-Ball on dead bird in bunker

Hi Linda,

We had a situation where a player's ball came to rest on a dead bird in a bunker. Decision 23/6.5 indicates that the dead  bird is both an outside agency and a loose impediment. As the ball lies in a bunker, must the player treat the bird as a loose impediment (no relief)?

Lulu from Australia

Dear Lulu,

It would make no difference whether you label the dead bird a loose impediment or an outside agency. There is no relief if a ball lies on a loose impediment in a bunker, and you may not move the loose impediment. If you don't want to hit the ball as it lies, you may declare it unplayable.

Neither is there relief if you label the bird an outside agency. Rule 19-1 states that if a ball is deflected or stopped by an outside agency you must play it as it lies. Free relief is only available if your ball lies on a "moving or animate outside agency."

Regardless of what you call the dead bird, you must play it as it lies or declare it unplayable.

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