Friday, December 9, 2016

Ask Linda #1436-Partner absent in four-ball match

Hi Linda,
I have a question about handicaps. It’s not really a golf rules question, so feel free to ignore it if it’s off-topic.

I’m in a 2-man better ball tournament at a local club. My partner and I played the first four holes in first round of this match-play event before the rain started. As you may be aware, when it rains hard in Florida it can get difficult to continue. Standing water was beginning to form on the greens so the four of us agreed to postpone our round and continue at a later date. We had completed 4 holes.

The deadline for completion of the round is this Sunday and unfortunately my playing partner is out of town. The only option other than forfeit is for me to take them on alone, which I am going to do. And so to my question: how do we allocate shots given that there are only 3 of us? The situation is as follows:

me: 9
my partner: 5
first opponent: 7
second opponent: 11

Ordinarily my partner would get 0, first opponent would get 2, I would get 4, and second opponent would get 6.

Given that my partner is not playing do we stick with the above (even though he’s not there) or do we make my first opponent the low man and give him 0 with me getting 2 and the second opponent getting 4?

Thanks for helping to unravel this one.
Lou from Tampa, Florida

Dear Lou,

You may be surprised to learn that this situation is covered under the Rules of Golf. The Rule that allows a player to compete in a match without his partner is 30-3a. There is a Decision regarding that Rule that answers your question. Decision 30-3a/3 states that if a player’s partner is unable to play, his handicap is not disregarded in determining the handicap allowances. Accordingly, your match would continue just as it began, with your absent partner “playing” at scratch. Your handicap and your opponents’ would be reduced by 5 (your partner’s handicap).

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