Monday, April 4, 2016

Ask Linda #1279-Ball hit into unknown hazard

Dear Linda,
Tom, Dick, & Harry are playing a stroke play event on a course with which they are unfamiliar. On the 8th tee, Tom hits a ball left towards a large copse of trees. He properly declares and plays a provisional shot, and the players proceed to begin their search of the trees. When they arrive they find that the stand of trees is in a swampy area, and as such is marked as a lateral hazard. All three players agree that Tom's original tee ball is “known or virtually certain” to be in the lateral hazard, but they can't actually find the ball. Does Tom have to play his provisional ball, or may he proceed under Rule 26-1?
Lou from Panama City Beach, Florida

Dear Lou,

Since it is known or virtually certain that the ball is in the lateral water hazard, the player must abandon the provisional ball and proceed under one of the relief options in Rule 26-1, the water hazard rule [Decision 27-2a/2.5]. If he continues play with the provisional ball, he has played a wrong ball and is subject to the procedures and penalties explained in Rule 15-3 [Rule 27-2c].

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