Monday, April 18, 2016

Ask Linda #1287-Move ball marker

Hi Linda,
A friend of mine brought up a situation that arose while she was playing Stroke Play. I hadn't heard this before so I would like to ask your expertise on it.

Apparently, her ball landed on the green, she marked it, but then when she went to putt, she went to the spot where she thought her marker had been placed and it wasn't there. It was in a different spot and it had been turned upside down. She didn't know if she or one of the other players had accidentally moved it with either their club or foot, etc. She was told she had to take a one-stroke penalty. I think she played it where she found the overturned marker. 

What is the ruling on this type of situation?

Thank you,
Lulu from Oceanside, California

Dear Lulu,

Since the circumstances of how the marker was moved are unknown, the player must be held responsible. The penalty is one stroke [Rule 20-1], and the ball must be replaced where it was originally marked. If it is not replaced, the penalty is two strokes [Rule 20-3a]. The player in your scenario incurred a two-stroke penalty.

If the player responsible for moving the marker could have been established, the results would have been as follows:
• Player moves marker in the process of marking her ball: No penalty; replace the marker [Rule 20-1].
• Player moves marker other than in the process of marking her ball (e.g., drops ball on marker from any height, kicks marker): One stroke penalty; replace the marker [Rule 20-3a; Decision 20-1/15].
• Fellow competitor (stroke play) moves the marker: No penalty; replace the marker [Rule 18-4].
• Opponent (match play) moves the marker: Opponent incurs one-stroke penalty; replace ball [Rule 18-3].

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