Thursday, February 16, 2017
Ask Linda #1482-Ball “lost” when player abandons search
I am of the opinion that once you start to walk back to the tee your ball is now lost, even if found within the 5-minute time limit.
Am I correct?
Lou from South Australia
No. A ball is not “lost” under the Rules simply because the player has abandoned a search that lasted less than five minutes.
If the player’s ball is found within five minutes and before the player hits another ball from the teeing ground (even if he has already teed up a new ball), he may continue play with the original ball or play the teed ball under penalty of stroke and distance [Decision 27-1/1]. The original ball was not “lost” under the Rules [Definition of “Lost Ball”], and the teed-up ball was not in play [Definition of “Ball in Play”].
If it had been the player’s second shot, and he had returned to the spot where he hit that second shot, there are two possible outcomes when the original is found within five minutes:
(1) If the player drops a ball on the spot where he hit his previous shot, it is in play and the original is deemed “lost.” He must play the dropped ball, and he incurs a one-stroke penalty under stroke and distance [Rule 27-1, Decision 27-1/2].
(2) If the player’s ball is found within five minutes and before he drops another ball under stroke and distance, his original ball is not lost. He may play the original ball, or drop and play a ball under penalty of stroke and distance.
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