Friday, March 10, 2017

Ask Linda #1488-Player finds two identical balls

Hi Linda.
Playing in a four-ball stroke play event, Player A informs me that he was playing with a Callaway 4. He drives off and his ball lands in the rough. We find two balls that were exactly the same. What is the ruling? Neither ball has an identification mark on it. There was no way to tell which ball belonged to Player A. Is there a rule that stipulates that you have to mark your ball? I know it says it's advisable, but is there a hard and fast rule to say you must mark your ball?
Lou from Wales, UK

Dear Lou,

Rule 12-2 states that the player should put an identification mark on his ball. There is no Rule that requires the player to do so, but your situation is a classic example of why everyone should put a personal identification mark on every ball in his bag. Since the player has found two identical balls, and is unable to figure out which one is his, his ball is lost under the Rules. His carelessness gives him a penalty stroke and a return to the tee to hit his next shot [Decisions 12-2/1 and 27/10].

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