Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ask Linda #1226a-Follow-up to #1226 (Replace incorrectly substituted ball)

Hi Linda,
How would the other player proceed now that his ball has been confiscated?
Lulu from Gatineau, Québec

Dear Lulu,

Rule 15-3 explains that if another player hits your ball, you must place “a” ball on the spot where it was first played. You will complete play of the hole with that new (different) ball, and, of course, you incur no penalty.

The difference between the words “a” and “the” in the rulebook is very significant. When a Rule refers to “a ball,” you may use any ball; when a Rule refers to “the ball,” you must use the original ball. For example, when you mark and lift your ball on the putting green, Rule 16-1b requires that “the ball must be replaced.” The ball that you marked and lifted is the ball that must be replaced in front of your marker. On the other hand, the relief options for a ball in a water hazard (Rule 26) all involve dropping “a ball.” There is no requirement that you retrieve your original ball from the hazard to play your next shot.

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