Friday, October 16, 2015

Ask Linda #1171-Player’s ball hits partner’s bag

I was playing in the final of a club mixed foursomes match play competition recently, when my male opponent sliced his tee shot. His ball hit his partner’s bag, coming to rest in play. I thought as it was a match play competition the penalty would be a loss of hole. Both my opponents insisted there was no penalty, as the ball had not struck the player’s bag. Both my opponents are elderly (between them they have over 100 years golf experience), and as they were adamant they were correct, we continued to play without any penalty. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that there should have been a penalty, as there was a distinct advantage incurred – the ball was heading out of bounds when it struck the bag.

I have searched for the ruling on this but have not found anything. Can you let me know if there was an infringement of the rules and if so what was the correct penalty?

Lou from Dublin, Ireland

Dear Lou,

The answer can be found in Rule 19 (“Ball in Motion Deflected or Stopped”). Rule 19-2 tells us that if a player’s ball is accidently deflected by himself, his partner, or either of their caddies or equipment, the player incurs a one-stroke penalty. The ball must be played as it lies (assuming it settled on the ground). The player in your scenario should have been assessed a one-stroke penalty.

It is not as unusual as one might think to run into elderly or experienced golfers who are adamant about so-called “rules” that are non-existent or incorrect. Since this was match play, you should have filed a claim (assuming the stroke affected the outcome of the hole). Any Committee member (or pro) with a basic knowledge of the Rules would have found the answer in a jiffy and assessed your opponent a penalty.

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