Monday, October 12, 2015

Ask Linda #1167-Continue play with provisional if original is unplayable

A player thought his ball may be lost outside a water hazard or out of bounds and played a provisional ball from the tee box. Although he found it within the allocated 5 minutes, when it was found he declared it unplayable and wanted to use the provisional ball as a substituted ball. His fellow competitor said that to put another ball into play he had to either drop a ball no nearer the hole or as far back as he wanted in line with the pin or return to the tee. Was he correct, or could he continue play with the provisional?

I was neither the player nor the competitor. I just listened to the argument afterwards!!

Many thanks.
Lou from Oman

Dear Lou,

I have answered this question before, but the Rule bears repeating.

If the player finds his original ball, and it is not lost or out of bounds, he must abandon the provisional and continue with the original [Rule 27-2c].

If the player continues with the provisional ball after finding the original, he is in big trouble. He has played a wrong ball (two-stroke/loss of hole penalty under Rule 15-3, and disqualification in stroke play if you don’t return to play the original ball before teeing off on the next hole).

The player in your scenario found his original ball on the golf course in an unplayable lie. He must abandon the provisional and proceed under Rule 28, “Ball Unplayable,” with the original. His three relief options, all of which will add a one-stroke penalty to his score, are:

• Play a ball (the original or a substituted ball) under stroke and distance (which means a return to where he hit his previous shot).
• Drop a ball on the line-of-sight to the hole (this is the imaginary line that begins at the hole, passes through the spot where the unplayable ball lies, and continues to infinity).
• Drop a ball within two club-lengths of the unplayable ball lies, no closer to the hole.

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