Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ask Linda #1325-Player borrows putter

Thanks again for all your help and hoping you can offer more guidance after an incident today during a tournament.
A player was upset after missing a short birdie putt and tossed his putter toward his bag. He then used a putter belonging to another competitor to make the par putt.
The player was disqualified for using another player's equipment. But what should happen to the player who loaned or gave up his putter? Some felt the ruling would be different if he handed him the putter or if it was taken from him.
Thank you,
Lou from Ontario

Dear Lou,

I will answer your question, but first I have one for you. Why was the player who borrowed the putter disqualified? The penalty for using another player’s club one time is two strokes in stroke play (one-hole adjustment to the match in match play). The maximum penalty per round, should the player borrow the club on two or more holes, is four strokes (two-hole adjustment in a match). Please read Rule 4-4a, second paragraph, and the accompanying penalty statement. Borrowing clubs or carrying more than 14 clubs is not grounds for disqualification.

Regardless of how the player acquired the other golfer’s putter, the owner of the putter incurs no penalty. If the owner is aware of the player’s intention to make a stroke with his putter, and he is familiar with Rule 4-4a, it would be a sporting gesture to inform the player that use of another golfer’s putter will result in a penalty to the player. However, the responsibility for the Rules breach lies squarely on the shoulders of the player, who is expected to know the Rules.

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