Monday, January 23, 2017

Ask Linda #1465-Continue with provisional when original found

Hi from down under, Linda.
Can you help with this one…

Playing a par 5 a guy tees off and skies his tee shot. From the tee it looked like the ball either cleared a wooded area that forms a lateral hazard or it landed in the hazard.

Nevertheless, the guy opts to play a provisional in case the ball is not found and it would therefore be deemed as lost as it would not be conclusive that the ball landed in the hazard.

The reality was that the ball was actually found to be in the hazard and on dry ground, but the guy decided to play his provisional, as the original ball was in the hazard. He stated that as such an option would be to play another ball under stroke and distance penalty from where the original shot was played from, i.e. the tee, by playing his provisional. That constituted his thoughts.

I'm not sure this was right. As his original ball was found, albeit in a hazard, should his options restart at the point of his ball being found? Should his provisional now be voided and as an option with a ball in a lateral hazard, should he only now go back to the original spot where the ball was played from?

Kind regards
Lou from the Sunshine Coast, Australia

Dear Lou,

Your understanding is correct. Rule 27-2 is quite clear in stating that the player must abandon the provisional ball if the original ball is neither lost nor out of bounds. There are no ifs, ands, or buts here. Once the player finds his ball in the water hazard, he must proceed with the original ball. This will mean playing it as it lies, or choosing one of the relief options in Rule 26.

I understand his thinking that since he has already played a second ball from the tee (his provisional ball), there is no reason to return to the tee to hit yet another ball if he wants to choose the stroke-and-distance relief option for a ball in a water hazard [Rule 26-1a]. However, a provisional ball is not a ball that has been played under 26-1a. If he wants to take relief from the water hazard under stroke and distance, he must return to the tee, playing under the correct, applicable Rule. Sometimes wasting time cannot be avoided.

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