Thursday, April 5, 2018

Ask Linda #1733-Player continues with second ball despite first ball found

Hi Linda, 
I wonder if you can help me please?

This is the scenario: A player tees off and the ball goes into the bush. The player puts another ball down and hits it down the fairway, but did not nominate that ball as a “provisional.”

The first ball is found in the bush, but because the second ball was not nominated as provisional, the player picks up the first ball and carries on playing the hole with the second ball, taking a two-shot penalty (effectively playing three off the tee).

I always thought in these circumstances that if you find your first ball, you have to play it.

What is the correct ruling please?

Thanks in advance,
Lulu from St. Francis Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Dear Lulu,

When you hit a second ball without stating that you are hitting a provisional ball, that second ball becomes your ball in play and the original ball is officially lost [Definition of “Lost Ball”]. If you happen to find your original ball, simply pick it up and toss it in your bag – you may not play it.

Your second ball has been played under stroke and distance [Rule 27-1]. Count the first shot (the tee shot that went into the bush and is now lost), the second shot (your ball that is now in play), and a one-stroke penalty. When the player hits that second ball that finished in the fairway, she will be hitting her fourth shot on the hole.

If the player had declared her second shot from the tee provisional, she would be required to continue play with the found original, provided it was found within five minutes of beginning search and she had not hit a second shot with the provisional from a spot where the original was likely to be or a spot closer to the hole than that spot [Rule 27-2b].

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