Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ask Linda #1339-Player’s ball reaches green while group ahead still putting

Hi Linda,
Three of us were playing the other day and were on the green on a par 4 hole. The single player behind us on the tee box hit his tee shot. The ball hit the cart path just right, took a big bounce and nice roll that ended with the ball being on the green. One of the folks I was playing with hit this person’s ball off of the green with her putter without marking it. The player that hit the tee shot had not hit into us before and apologized profusely when he drove up. 

Is there a rule for this situation? Should the ball have been marked where it landed?

For what it’s worth, I was embarrassed when the person in our group hit his ball off of the green.

Thank you.
Lulu from Oklahoma City

Dear Lulu,

Will everybody please lighten up? While you are not supposed to hit when the group ahead is in range, what player could predict that his ball would take a big hop off a cart path and roll up onto a green? This is an unusual happenstance that posed no danger to anyone. It is not poor etiquette on the part of the player who hit his drive (the one who “apologized profusely”); it is, however, a big problem for the player on the green who decided to putt the harmless ball off the green. She has not played a wrong ball or made a practice stroke, but she will, “in equity,” incur a significant penalty: two strokes in stroke play or loss of hole in match play [Decision 1-4/4].

If the ball interfered with play, it should have been marked and replaced.

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