Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Ask Linda #1119-Lift ball from green and drop it into a water hazard

Hi Linda,
Recently on a small green surrounded by water on three sides, my opponent marked his ball, picked it up to clean it and accidentally dropped it in the water.
We were not able to retrieve the ball. I argued that since he was not able to finish the hole with the same ball he started it with, he should incur a penalty.
He argued that the ball was not in play since he had already marked it and therefore no penalty applies.
What rules apply to this situation?

Lou from Dade City, Florida

Dear Lou,

A player is required to complete each hole with the ball he hit from the teeing ground unless he loses the ball or hits it out of bounds [Rule 15-1]. If he substitutes a ball when he is not permitted to do so, he incurs a two-stroke/loss of hole penalty [Rule 15-2; Decision 15-2/1].

Rule 16-1b requires the player to replace the ball he marked and lifted from the green with the same ball he lifted. Since your opponent was unable to do that, he lost the hole. In stroke play he would incur a two-stroke penalty.

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