Saturday, January 2, 2016

Ask Linda #1216b-Another flagstick issue

Dear Linda,

I was in a somewhat similar situation [see Ask Linda #1216, posted on December 21], playing a team event with another golf club. I was on the green, quite far away from the pin, and a member of the opposing team went to the pin to attend the flag. I did not object, nor ask my own team member to attend instead. I putted the ball, and at about 4 feet away, it became obvious that the putt was going to be sunk. The member of the opposing team - presumably quite purposefully - put the flagstick back into the cup, and my ball hit the flagstick as it entered the cup. It all happened so fast, there was no time to react until it was too late. My teammate and I were horrified, and couldn't believe what we just saw. While I understand the responsibility of the attendee, as well as ensuring that whoever attends for you is doing this “honorably,” is there any recourse for someone who actually forces a penalty on an opponent, as in this situation? Would the only recourse be advising the Committee of such an act?

Thank you - and thanks for your column, as well!

All the best,
Lulu from Ireland

Dear Lulu,

The player should report this event to the Committee. If it is decided that the player deliberately replaced the flagstick to cause another competitor to incur a penalty, the decision should be to disqualify the player in both match play and stroke play [Decision 17-3-2]. Such behavior should not be tolerated. It is contrary to the spirit of the game, and a serious breach of etiquette. Rule 33-7 gives the Committee the authority to impose a disqualification penalty for such an unthinkable act.

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