Friday, April 17, 2015

Ask Linda #1042-Player moves bag while putt is in motion

Hi Linda

I just discovered your blog and find it very informative. Thank you.

We had a situation arise today that we were not sure of the correct procedure and would appreciate your input.

Stroke play. All our balls were on the green. One player (A) had laid her clubs just off the green away from the hole. Another player (B) hit a wayward putt, which was headed right for the clubs on the ground. Player A ran over and picked up her clubs to prevent B's ball from hitting them.

Was A in contravention of Rule 1-2 and does she have to take a 2-stroke penalty? If not, why not? If B's ball had hit the clubs and rebounded, would she just hit from where the ball settled?

Thank you.
Lulu from Toronto, Canada

Dear Lulu,

There are two exceptions to the Rule that prohibits a player from moving an obstruction that might influence the movement of a ball while it is in motion: (1) equipment that belongs to any player, and (2) the flagstick while it is attended, removed, or held up [Rule 24-1, last paragraph]. Applying this Rule to your situation, there is no penalty to anyone if any player removes any clubs that were left on the ground that are in the path of a wayward putt while the ball is still moving.

Here are the rulings if the clubs are not removed and the putt hits the clubs:
• If the clubs belong to the player, there is a one-stroke penalty and the ball must be played as it lies [Rule 19-2].
• If the clubs belong to a fellow competitor (stroke play), it is a “rub of the green.” There is no penalty, and the ball must be played as it lies [Rule 19-4].
• If the clubs belong to an opponent (match play), there is no penalty. The player has two choices: (1) cancel the stroke and repeat the putt, or (2) play the ball as it lies [Rule 19-3].

Copyright © 2015 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.