Monday, December 7, 2015
Ask Linda #1206-Putt hits hole-liner
Player A was putting from distance with player B attending the flag as requested. As the ball tracked to the hole, player B attempted to remove the flagstick; it wouldn't move. With a desperate effort player B pulled up the flagstick with the white cup attached. The cup came halfway out of the hole and jammed and the ball, at perfect pace and line, hit the cup. Who is to blame, should player A be penalized?
Lou from Northampton, England
There is no penalty to either player. The hole-liner is an outside agency. If it was moving when the ball hit it, cancel the stroke, replace the ball, and putt again. If the liner was not moving (which seems to be your case), the ball must be played as it lies. If there is any doubt as to whether the liner was moving at the time of contact, the ball must be played as it lies [Decision 17/8].
Attending the flagstick is a responsibility that should be taken seriously. When you are asked to attend, always lift the flagstick out of the hole before the putt and rest it lightly in the cup, out of the hole. If Player B had taken this simple precaution, there would have been no problem.
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