Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ask Linda #1293-Status of cigar in bunker

At a tournament, the rules person said you cannot move a cigar butt from the bunker. If the butt is considered artificial, I think you can. I looked at Rules 24 & 23.

Lulu from Hollywood, Florida

Dear Lulu,

You are correct. A cigar butt is an obstruction (just like a rake or a towel), and may be removed from the bunker.

It’s surprising to learn that a rules official does not know the difference between a loose impediment and an obstruction. Loose impediments are natural objects, such as twigs and leaves [Definition of “Loose Impediments”]. If your ball and a loose impediment lie in the same hazard, you may not touch or move the loose impediment [Rule 13-4c].  Obstructions are anything artificial, which means man-made [Definition of “Obstructions”]. Cigars are both man-made and movable, making them movable obstructions. They may be moved regardless of where they or the ball lie [Rule 24-1].

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