Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Ask Linda #1442-Wind blows leaf into bunker

It's a windy day. A player is in the bunker addressing his ball when the wind blows a leaf into the bunker, which then hits his club. Is there a rule that covers this scenario (I cannot see one), and following on from this is any penalty attached to "touching, by definition, a loose impediment in the bunker?” And if there is a penalty applying, does it make any difference if the leaf is blown along the ground, or airborne?
Lou from Australia

Dear Lou,

The player does not incur a penalty when a natural occurrence (e.g., the wind) causes a loose impediment to contact his club when he addresses a ball (or begins his backswing, or does anything else) in a bunker.

The player does incur a penalty when he is responsible for touching or moving a loose impediment lying in a hazard before he makes his stroke [Rule 13-4c]. Don’t forget that the backswing is not part of the stroke.

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