Friday, April 22, 2016

Ask Linda #1290-Player hits wrong ball in team scramble

Hi Linda

Love your Ask Linda Blog…always very useful and often very timely. Question for you:

Yesterday we had the first day of a new tournament played using a Pairs Ambrose [Scramble] Match Play Format.

Situation arose in one match where Player A in a team discovered he had played the wrong ball. Player A apparently picked up an incorrect ball from the rough, wrongly assuming it was his ball, and then without realizing it placed it alongside the mark where his partner’s ball lay on the fairway from where they both played their next shots. Upon reaching his ball thus played he discovered he had actually played someone else's ball.

Under normal Match Play rules it would be loss of hole, but as his partner (Player B) still had a live ball the hole was played out, with both players continuing the hole from the position of Player B's ball, which was still in play, and they subsequently won the hole.

Was this the correct way of completing the hole, or should the team have forfeited the hole based on the transgression made by Player A?

The incident also made me think what would happen if Player A had played his Tee shot out of bounds and Player B played his Tee shot up the middle of the fairway. I would have naturally assumed that the team would select Player B's ball as the "best" ball and both would play their second shots from that position, thus no penalty for Player A's ball going OOB.

Maybe that analogy answers my question.
Lou from New Zealand

Dear Lou,

Since an Ambrose, or scramble, is not technically played under the Rules of Golf, I will give you an answer that seems logical to me.

In a scramble, both players hit a ball from the same spot, select the ball they wish to play for their next shot, and each hits a ball from that same spot. This procedure is followed until the ball is holed. As you suggest, if one player hits the ball out of bounds, and the other player’s ball is in play, naturally the team will continue play with the ball in play.

The same logic should be applied to your scenario. One ball is in play, the other was a wrong ball; the players will continue play with the “live” ball (as you call it). Team A-B played correctly and won the hole.

If both players had hit a wrong ball in match play, the team would lose the hole. Since they are allowed to choose which ball to play, and they had a ball in play for every shot, the score counts.

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