Monday, October 9, 2017

Ask Linda #1619-Players steps on branch and ball moves

Hi Linda,
A player stepped on a thin branch lying on the ground. Although not originally apparent, the branch was touching his ball and his action caused the ball to move. He thought the ball may have returned to its original position when he stepped off the branch, but was not sure. It was decided that this was unlikely and he accepted the penalty and played from where the ball lay.
In accepting the penalty, he agreed that the ball had moved and a fellow competitor suggested he should have a further penalty for playing from a wrong place.
Should the player have lifted the ball and dropped as near as possible to the original position or would it be acceptable that the ball was lying in or very near to the original position, giving no advantage and could be played as it lay?
Lou from France

Dear Lou,

The decision to enforce a Rule is not dependent on whether the player has gained an advantage. Rules are rules. They are the same for everyone, and must be enforced when they are breached.

The player incurs one penalty stroke for moving his ball in play. If he does not replace the ball before he hits it, he incurs an additional penalty stroke for a total of two penalty strokes in stroke play, loss of hole in match play [Rule 18-2; Penalty Statement for Breach of Rule 18 (in red following Rule 18-6)].

Since the player knew the spot where the ball originally lay, he would place the ball on that spot.

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