Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Ask Linda #1373-Stray player joins group in tournament

Dear Linda,
I was in a tournament yesterday when a player who had played earlier in the day joined the group ahead of us. This player was not included in our tee sheet. He did not even pay or notify the Pro shop that he would do a repeat. Since he was a friend of the guys ahead of us, they allowed him to join them and played.

My question is does the group who allowed this player to join them breach any rule?

Thanks again Linda for your help.
Lou from Daly City, California

Dear Lou,

I suspect you won’t be surprised to learn that there is no simple answer.

In stroke play, competitors are required to play the round in the group arranged by the Committee [Rule 6-3b]. If a stray player joins that group, the Committee must decide whether to approve the change. If the change is approved, there is no penalty to the players in the original pairing (but read the next paragraph regarding the stray player); if it is not approved, the players are disqualified.

If the stray player is a competitor in the tournament, he may incur penalties for joining the group. If he will be competing at a later time, he is subject to disqualification for practicing on the course prior to his round. If he has finished his round, but there is another round yet to be played, he is subject to disqualification for practicing on the course between rounds [Rule 7-1b]. He may also be disqualified if the Committee rules that this was a serious breach of etiquette [Rule 33-7].

Moving on to match play, in a singles match (A vs. B), if Player A invites someone to accompany the match, Player B may object and file a claim. In that case, the Committee should uphold the claim and award the match to Player B. If Player B does not object to a third player joining the match, the match would stand as played [Decision 2/1].

I consulted a USGA official to learn the correct rulings.

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