Thursday, February 11, 2016

Ask Linda #1253-Player finds original unplayable and continues with provisional

We were playing stroke play for a high school. A player hit his first ball towards OB and then hit a provisional. He went looking for his first ball and found it. The player then decided to deem his first shot unplayable because it was under some trees. So the player proceeded to play his provisional. He played out his provisional and did not fix his mistake. He left the green and played the next hole. Some of the coaches who were around were uncertain of the rule and assessed a 2-stroke penalty. I explained that he should have been disqualified under Rule 15-3b. Who was right?
Lou from Oak Hills, California

Dear Lou,

When the player found his original ball, he was required to continue play with the original and abandon the provisional [Rule 27-2c]. If the original is unplayable, he must choose one of the relief options in Rule 28 for an unplayable ball. If he decides his best option under Rule 28 is to play a ball from where he hit his previous shot, he must return to the tee. The fact that he hit a provisional from the tee that is playable is irrelevant – that ball is out of play because he found his original ball in bounds.

When the player hit the provisional ball, he made a stroke at a "wrong ball." The penalty is two strokes under Rule 15-3b, and he must correct the mistake by completing the hole with the original ball. If he does not, he is disqualified as soon as he tees off on the next hole [Rule 15-3b]. Your understanding was correct.

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