Thursday, October 1, 2015

Ask Linda #1161-Five-minute search time exceeded

Linda, in a recent match of 2-man best ball a player was looking for his ball while waiting for the green to clear. After the other players had hit their approach shots to the green, he was walking back to his cart and found his ball. He announced he had found his ball and hit his approach. He was quite short of the green and proceeded to hit a 3rd shot. When he arrived at the green his ball was just off the green and 1 of his opponents was away a few feet behind his ball and proceeded to hit his next shot. After hitting his shot the opponent informed the player that he had taken more than 5 minutes to look for his ball and was therefore out of the hole. The player said that although it was possible he had taken more then the allotted time, he should have been informed sooner of his infraction. My question is, when should he have been informed of this infraction?
Thanks for all your help! 
Lou from Massachusetts

Dear Lou,

It seems as if what you’re telling me is that the player exceeded the five-minute limit to search for his ball, played the ball despite the fact that it was officially lost under the Rules, and was unhappy that his opponent “informed” him of the violation when he arrived at the green.

That’s not the way it works, Lou. As soon as the player’s search passed the five-minute mark his ball was lost. When he hit the “lost” ball, he played a wrong ball and lost the hole [Decision 27/8]. It is the player’s responsibility to inform his opponent when he incurs a penalty, not vice versa.

If the player insists that he found the ball within five minutes, his opponent can file a claim before anyone tees off on the next hole and the Committee can sort it all out. However, your narrative seems to indicate that the player acknowledged that he had searched for his ball for more than five minutes. If that is the case, he lost the hole, plain and simple.

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