Thursday, July 9, 2015

Ask Linda #1101-Competitor lifts ball player fails to ID

Hello Linda,

I have a question in regards to a situation that happened in our stroke play tournament last weekend. I'll make it as simple as I can.

A player hits a shot into some weeds. He then declared that he was going to play a provisional in the event that he couldn't find his first ball. During the search, a competitor finds a ball in the area, and asks if it belongs to the player. The player says no, so the competitor picked the ball up. The search continues for a bit. On the way to the player's provisional ball, he realizes that the ball his competitor found and picked up was indeed his original ball. What do you do under the rules of golf?

Thank you!
Lou from Pennsylvania

Dear Lou,

I’m going to assume that all of this searching and picking up and failure to identify took less than five minutes, which means we don’t have to worry about the ball being lost under the Rules.

Picking up a fellow competitor’s ball in stroke play is not a penalty. The ball must be replaced [Rule 18-4].

What I find puzzling is the player’s failure to identify his ball. I suspect he did not draw an identifying mark on his ball (initials, dots, lines, etc.), which is a big mistake in my book. This scenario demonstrates one of the many reasons for marking your ball.

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