Friday, October 7, 2016

Ask Linda #1396-Player touches ball with putter

Dear Linda,
Recently, I was playing in a tournament and someone was putting on the green. I was the only person near him as the other two players were on the other side of the green waiting to watch the line. As he was addressing the ball, he placed the face of the putter behind the ball and accidentally touched the ball. The ball did not move from where it was, but it did "wiggle." He then took the putter back and putted the ball into the hole for a birdie. I wasn't sure if he should have taken a penalty shot because of the fact that the face of the putter DID touch the ball BEFORE he putted it. I did not know any of the people I was playing with and was not sure what to say, especially since nobody else saw what I saw.
My question is: should he have gotten a penalty stroke when he touched the ball with the putter before he putted? I would think that if he knew he should have said something, it was up to him to be honest (especially with himself) and say that he touched the ball.
What should I have done?
Thanks Linda... your input is important to me.
Lulu from Boca Raton, Florida

Dear Lulu,

There is no penalty for touching your ball with your club when you address the ball [Rule 18-2 (i), second bullet]. The ball has not moved if it oscillates but remains in the same place [Definition of “Move or Moved”]. The player in question did not breach any Rule of Golf.

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