Friday, December 11, 2015

Ask Linda #1210-Original found before dropped ball played

Hi Linda,
My partner hits a blind shot in the vicinity of a narrow dried water hazard full of rock. He takes a drop at the point of entry...by then I make the point that the ball could be anywhere and that the rule of virtual certainty is not applicable. He agrees and before he picks up to redrop for a lost ball…his original ball is found playable in the hazard. He thanks me for interrupting his play and plays his original ball. I would have thought his drop ball to be in play but dropped in the wrong place, and that the correct play would have been to redrop at the previous location. Am I right?
Lou from Gatineau, Qu├ębec

Dear Lou,

No.

This player dropped a ball under Rule 26-1b when he was not entitled to do so, since there was no virtual certainty that his ball was in the hazard. A ball that is incorrectly substituted, dropped in a wrong place, or dropped not in accordance with the Rules, may be lifted with no penalty and played correctly [Rule 20-6]. Since the player did not play the dropped ball, he is entitled to lift it. Assuming he found the original ball within five minutes, he may play it [Decision 26-1/3.7].

The answer is different if there is virtual certainty that the ball is in the water hazard. In that case, the dropped ball was correctly substituted under the Rules and must be played, even if the original ball is found within the five-minute limit before the player hits the dropped ball. If the location of the original is such that the player has dropped in a wrong place, the player must correct the error by dropping in the correct place. He may not play the original ball; he cannot avoid the one-stroke penalty for taking relief outside the water hazard [Decision 26-1/3.5].

Linda
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