Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ask Linda #1426-Player cannot distinguish between two provisional balls

Hi Linda,
How do you score this scenario? My partner hits two provisional balls (3 balls off the tee), all in the same area. We then search and find the two provisional balls (the original is lost). Both provisional balls are unplayable. He decides to take a drop of one of his provisional balls. He thinks it is his first provisional ball, but he’s not sure. What is he playing after the drop? Or should he have had to go back to the tee to play a third provisional ball until it is in play?
Lou from Melbourne, Australia

Dear Lou,

Since the player is uncertain which provisional ball he hit first, the equitable solution under the Rules is to assume that the provisional he chooses to continue with is the second ball he hit provisionally [Decision 27/11]. Count the original tee shot, the one-stroke penalty under stroke and distance for the first provisional, the stroke with the first provisional, the one-stroke penalty under stroke and distance for the second provisional, and the stroke with the second provisional. Up to this point, the player’s score is 5. He will incur a one-stroke penalty for taking relief for an unplayable ball. After the drop, his next stroke will be his 7th on the hole.

This player would have lowered his score by two if he had followed the recommended procedures of marking each provisional ball distinctively and describing each ball to his fellow competitors before he hit them.

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