Friday, January 22, 2016

Ask Linda #1239-Penalty confusion

Hi Linda,

I am having problems sorting out the penalty if, when you have been asked to lift your ball because it is interfering with your opponent's shot, you inadvertently, or on purpose, clean it.

Rule 22 says (in part):

“A ball lifted under this Rule must be replaced (see Rule 20-3). The ball must not be cleaned, unless it lies on the putting green (see Rule 21).”

The penalty for breaking Rule 22 is 2 shots or loss of hole, so it would seem that if you clean the ball that is the penalty.

However Rule 21 says (again in part):

“If a player cleans his ball during play of a hole except as provided in this Rule, he incurs a penalty of one stroke and the ball, if lifted, must be replaced.”

Please will you help me to understand the why and wherefore of a 1-shot or 2-shot penalty.

Many thanks in anticipation of your help again,
Lou from England

Dear Lou,

The penalty for cleaning the ball when you are not permitted to do so is one stroke.

When Rule 22-2 tells you that you may not clean the ball if you have been asked to lift it because it interferes with play, it refers you to Rule 21, which tells you that the penalty for cleaning the ball under this circumstance is one stroke [Rule 21c].

The two-stroke penalty under Rule 22-2 is for a breach of that Rule. For example, if a player who lifted his ball upon request failed to replace it on the correct spot, and did not correct that error before hitting the ball, he would incur a two-stroke penalty.

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