Monday, July 4, 2016
Ask Linda #1330 explained further
A number of you were puzzled by the option to lift the ball off the tee, remove the tee, and drop the ball after a whiff (air swing) that does not disturb the ball [see Ask Linda #1330].
The ball is indeed in play, since the swing that missed the ball was made with the intention to hit it [Definition of “Stroke”]. Now that the ball is in play, it is sitting on a movable obstruction (the tee, or tee peg). When the ball lies on a movable obstruction, the player is entitled to lift the ball, remove the obstruction, and drop the ball as near as possible to where it lay, no closer to the hole [Rule 24-1b].
Be aware that the player may not raise or lower the tee before the next shot, as this would constitute moving the ball in play; the player would incur a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2 (two strokes if the tee is not returned to its original position – see Decision 18-2/1).
So two choices: hit the ball as it lies on the tee; or lift the ball, remove the tee (movable obstruction), drop, and hit. In both cases, the player’s second attempt to hit the ball would be her second stroke on the hole. There is no stroke and distance penalty, since the ball was never moved.