Monday, October 30, 2017

Ask Linda #1634-Player holes out with provisional

Dear Linda,
Yesterday we were in the following situation:

Player A tees off on a par 3 hole and his ball goes right into the trees. He announces that he will play a provisional ball and he does. He gets a "Hole in ONE” with the provisional. He is not willing to search for his ball in the trees, and he is walking towards the green.

What is the ruling here?

I assume that the other players have now to go and search for him (for 5 minutes) – this is not very “polite”…
I know that Player A cannot just declare his provisional ball as the new ball in play (in this situation is Player A allowed to just wait for 5 minutes, in order to declare his provisional as the ball in play?).

So now the rest of the players have to search in order to “protect” their scores? Correct?

Thank you,
Lou from Athens, Greece

Dear Lou,

The provisional ball will become the ball in play as soon as the player takes it out of the hole, provided the original ball is not found within five minutes before he does so [Decision 27-2b/2].

The other players are not obligated to search for the ball, but they may certainly do so, even if Player A requests that they not search. If they find the original ball within five minutes and before Player A picks his provisional out of the hole, Player A must complete the hole with the original ball.

If Player A is Rules-smart and fleet of foot, he will race to the hole in an attempt to remove the ball from the hole before anyone finds the original. If he wins the race, his score on the hole is 3.

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