Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Ask Linda #1226-Replace incorrectly substituted ball


Last week we were playing stroke play and one of my fellow competitors hit his ball to a side bunker. When we reached the green, he hit the ball from the bunker and while he was raking the sand I asked him if he wanted me to mark his ball. He said yes, so I did that.

In conclusion, after this procedure, I had 2 balls in my pocket. One was mine, and the other belonged to my fellow competitor.

When I proceeded to replace my ball, by mistake I placed my fellow competitor's ball. After removing my mark I realized that it wasn´t my ball so I marked again, I removed my fellow competitor's ball and I placed my own ball again.

The question about this situation is if I incurred some penalty because during 5 seconds the ball that was in play was not mine.

Thank you very much.
Lou from Argentina

Dear Lou,

No penalty. If the ball you replace is not yours, you may mark and lift that ball and replace it with the correct ball [Rule 20-6].  As long as you do not play the incorrectly substituted ball, there is no penalty.

However, if you play the incorrectly substituted ball, you lose the hole in match play. You would incur a two-stroke penalty in stroke play, and would have to complete play of the hole with the incorrectly substituted ball.

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