Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ask Linda #1039-Disputed double hit

Dear Linda,
 Our club championship....first round yesterday.
 Playing in 3-somes, stroke play. Player "A" double hits a 2-foot putt on the 9th hole. Playing partners B & C ask player A if she double hit her putt because they believe she did. Player A denies a double hit. After the 18 holes are finished, both players A & B will not attest player A's card as she has not included a penalty stroke for the double hit on the 9th hole.
 They take the protest to the Committee. What should the Committee rule? What happens if the card is not attested? Is she disqualified?
I am on the Committee. I believe the player A must call the double hit on herself and take the penalty.........if she does not do so her card stands. Nothing can be done as this game is all about integrity, honesty and the love of the game. 
Thank you,
Lulu from Southern California

Dear Lulu,

While players have an obligation to call penalties on themselves, fellow competitors also have an obligation to observe play and inform each other of penalties they have incurred. A player’s failure to penalize herself may be due to ignorance of a Rule or failure to note an infraction – it does not have to mean that the player lacks integrity.

The Committee must interview all observers and make a decision based on the evidence. Judging from your narrative, the Committee should add a one-stroke penalty for the double hit. Two fellow competitors observed the infraction, and are so sure about what they saw that they are refusing to attest the score. This meets the requirement for a preponderance of evidence. The player may not have realized that she double-tapped the ball, but her fellow competitors are certain she did so.

The player’s fellow competitors should attest the score after the Committee makes it’s ruling.

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