Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Ask Linda #1369-Tap conceded putt back to opponent

This situation was encountered in the first match of a consolation round of a club individual match play event. Lots of strokes being given and both players playing well.

Higher handicap player (player B) 3 up after 14.

On 15, player B has a short putt to win the hole and the match. Player A putts first and had a short putt remaining.

Before putting out player B advises player A that her putt is good and taps player A's ball back to her. Player B holes the putt.

Player A calls a penalty for "testing the surface of the green" when player B tapped the ball back to A; loss of hole to B.

I now understand that technically this was a rule violation but curious if there is any intent required for a penalty like this to be applied.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

Thank you, 
Lulu from Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Dear Lulu,

This was not a Rule violation (technically or otherwise), and there is no penalty. A player may roll or tap a ball back to her opponent after she concedes the next putt, assuming her reason for doing so is to return the ball. I gather from your narrative that this was a casual act with no intent to test the surface of the putting green [Decision 16-1d/1]. Player B won the match on the 15th hole.

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