Monday, August 31, 2015

Ask Linda #1138-Putt hits a ball set aside

Dear Linda,

The following refers to an actual game a couple of weeks ago and we are still discussing/arguing the answer.

Early morning Roll-up out in groups of 3 or 4.

Competition between each of the groups - best 2 Stableford scores to count on each hole; group with the highest score scoops the money.


All the players in a group are on the green. Player A who is furthest away asks Player B to mark his ball as it is on his line.

Player B marks and puts his ball aside, still on the green.  A's putt is so bad that it hits B's ball.

Any penalty?
Lou from England

Dear Lou,

Stablefords are governed, for the most part, by the rules of stroke play. A look at Rule 19-5a will tell you that in stroke play, when you putt your ball from on the putting green and your ball strikes another ball in play and at rest on the green, you incur a two-stroke penalty.

However, once a ball has been marked and lifted, it is no longer in play. Such a ball is defined as “equipment” [see Note 1 to the Definition of “Equipment”].

Now that we’re dealing with equipment, the applicable Rule is 19-2 if the players are partners, or 19-4 if they are fellow competitors. Let's review both situations.

If a player's ball is stopped or deflected by his own or his partner's equipment, he incurs a one-stroke penalty and must play the ball as it lies.

Fellow competitors:
When Player A’s putt strikes Player B’s ball that has been marked, lifted, and set aside, Player A’s ball has hit Player B’s equipment. Player A must play his ball as it lies [Decision 19-5/1]. There is no penalty to anyone.

You have to ask yourself why Player B didn’t put the ball in his pocket after he marked and lifted it. His carelessness affected someone else’s play and was the catalyst for two weeks of argument.

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