Monday, April 25, 2016

Ask Linda #1291-Identical ball markers in close proximity on green

Linda, two players playing stroke play hit their shots to the green and come to rest close together. They mark their balls with identical ball markers! When coming to replace their balls they are unsure whose marker belongs to whom. How should they proceed?

The players involved with the marker incident were playing in a three ball but the third player was not paying attention to where the other two marked their balls.

One of the players said they should proceed under the lost ball procedure, the other said they should play their strokes from where they are marked and then play under the wrong ball procedure. (The third player actually gave the identical markers to the other two players as a present prior to the round!!!)

Lou from Bodicote, England, UK

Dear Lou,

Each player would replace his ball in front of the marker farther from the hole (one at a time, of course). Neither player would incur a penalty for this mishap. This answer was verified by a USGA rules official.

Both players have properly marked and lifted their balls from the putting green [Rules 16-1b and 20-1]. Since the situation of players being unable to distinguish between identical markers is not directly addressed by a specific Rule or Decision, the ruling must be made “in equity” [Rule 1-4]. Equity decisions refer to what the Rules would say if they had addressed the situation.

Identical markers were not the best presents ever, but a happy ending.


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