Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ask Linda #1144-Report another player’s breach of the Rules

Dear Linda,

I love your blog. Your answers are spot on and easy to understand.
Now, I need your advice how to act in following situation.

During a club competition, I can clearly see that someone is abusing either "Rules of Golf" or "The competition rules of the day.” This player is not in my group, but playing in the group behind. What are my options:

1. Close my eyes and do nothing.
2. Approach the player immediately, if it is possible, and inform him about his mistake.
3. Wait until we all are in the clubhouse and report the situation to the committee.
4. Is there any other option?

What I did today, I choose to take option No. 2 above. He told me to xxxx off and mind my own business.

I did not report the situation to the committee. Apparently he, himself, asked the committee for a ruling and as a result, he was disqualified. If I had not approached him, he would never have asked for a ruling and would have gotten away with it.

I find this situation very stressful. What am I supposed to do when someone is clearly doing something wrong and against the rules on the golf course?
Cannot find the answer in "The Rules of Golf.” Please advise.

Very best regards.
Lou from Málaga, Spain

Dear Lou,

Players have an obligation to report an observed breach of the Rules to the Committee. This is the only way to protect the field. If one player, for example, hits his tee shot out of bounds and plays another ball correctly under stroke and distance, and another player does the same except that he drops and plays his next ball where the original went out of bounds, this will not be a fair competition.

If you have an opportunity to inform another player of a breach of the Rules, giving him an opportunity to correct his error and avoid possible disqualification, you should do so. He may be unhappy to learn the news, but at some point he should be thankful that you kept him in the competition. If the other player greets your news with abusive language, that is unfortunate for you, and possibly even more unfortunate for him, as he may be disqualified for a serious breach of etiquette. Players who are abusive towards other players, for whatever reason, should not be welcome on a golf course or in a tournament.

I understand how very stressful this can be for you. No one enjoys being the recipient of abusive language. However, you must weigh your discomfort against protecting the field. Use as much tact as you can muster when you have to inform a player of a breach. If he is abusive, back away and inform the Committee of both the breach and the poor etiquette. Let them deal with the lout.

Think about how much worse you would feel if the player finished in first or second place because of your failure to report his breach of the Rules. You have an obligation to protect the players who follow the Rules from those who don’t. 

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