Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ask Linda #1242-Ball hits outside agency

Hi Linda,
I will be grateful if you could clarify the following:
Rule 19-1 says if your ball hits an outside agency you have to hit it as it lies. (My understanding of outside agency is that it DOES NOT INCLUDE caddies and golf bags/carts. Please correct me if I am wrong.) Rule 19-3 states that if I hit somebody's bag/caddy, I have a choice of playing the ball as it lies OR can REPLAY the shot. Has Rule 19-3 been changed or are we applying the same?
Thanking you,
Lou from Bhutan

Dear Lou,

Your confusion stems from the different definitions and rules for match play vs. stroke play.

Let’s begin with the Definition of “Outside Agency.” In match play, the following are not outside agencies: the player, his opponent, their partners, their caddies, any ball they played, and everyone’s equipment. In stroke play, the definition of what is not an outside agency is more narrow, and includes only the player, his partner, their caddies, their balls in play, and their equipment.

Rule 19-1 states that if a player’s ball in motion is stopped or deflected by an outside agency, it is a rub of the green. There is no penalty, and the ball must be played as it lies. If your ball were to hit a referee or a forecaddie or a deer, for example, you would play the ball as it lies. Since players, their partners, their caddies, and their equipment are not outside agencies, there is a penalty in both match play and stroke play if your ball hits them (one stroke, play the ball as it lies) [Rule 19-2].

Rule 19-3 explains what to do in match play when your ball hits your opponent, his caddie, or your opponent’s equipment, none of which are outside agencies in match play. The player is given the choice to play the ball as it lies or cancel the stroke and repeat the shot, no penalty either way.

In stroke play, since a player’s fellow competitors, their caddies, and their equipment are outside agencies, competitors must follow Rule 19-1 and play the ball as it lies [Rule 19-4].

When Rules appear confusing, be sure to make note of the form of play (match play vs. stroke play), and always review the pertinent Definitions in the front of the rulebook. A good understanding of the Definitions goes a long way to making the Rules more comprehensible.

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