Thursday, April 27, 2017

Ask Linda #1519-Lift a ball in match play

I was playing a match and the balls of my opponent and myself were very close together. I marked my ball to enable my opponent to play. It got us thinking – in what sort of situation do we mark in match play if the golf balls are close together, as we believe on the green there is no penalty if one ball strikes another, unlike stroke play? We are mildly confused.
Lulu from Belfast

Dear Lulu,

You are correct in your understanding that there is no penalty in match play if both balls lie on the putting green and one player’s putted ball strikes another player’s ball at rest [Rule 19-5a]. However, this doesn’t mean that a player should not lift her ball on the putting green. You always have the option to mark and lift your ball on the putting green; you are required to lift it if your opponent (or fellow competitor in stroke play) asks you to do so because it interferes with her play.

When your ball is off the putting green, you may ask another player to lift a ball if it interferes with your play [Rule 22-2]. Be aware that the other player may not lift her ball unless she is asked to do so (assuming her ball does not lie on the putting green). If she lifts it without being asked, she will incur a one-stroke penalty for lifting her ball in play [Rule 18-2]. The ball that is lifted may not be cleaned.

Sometimes a ball lies in a position that might help another golfer. If that ball is yours, you may lift it; if it belongs to someone else, you may ask her to lift it [Rule 22-1]. The player who is asked to lift her ball because it might assist another player is required to lift the ball. An example of this would be if a player’s ball lies behind the hole in a position where it might serve as a backstop for another player’s shot.

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