Thursday, April 26, 2018

Ask Linda #1748-Hit second ball for first that may be in hazard

Hi Linda,
Yesterday Jeff, John and I were playing a par 3 with a pond in front of the green. My ball went into the pond. We all saw the splash. I thought it might have bounced off the water and out, since it was a low shot, but a quick view of the 15 yards of land between the pond and the green did not reveal it. I played another ball from the tee, which landed right next to the hole, and when I reached the green I saw my original ball, which had bounced out of the pond and was hiding under a leaf. 

Nobody knew what to do. I decided I must finish the hole with my original ball, and then add a two-stroke penalty for either hitting the wrong ball or practicing during the round. Was I right or wrong?

Lou from Morganton, North Carolina

Dear Lou,

You are entitled to hit a provisional ball when a ball may be lost outside a water hazard [Rule 27-2a].  If this was the situation you faced and you had announced that the second ball was a provisional, you would have had to continue play with your original when you found it obscured by the leaf; you would be required to abandon the provisional, and would accrue no penalties.

Since there was no announcement of a provisional, the second ball you hit was played under penalty of stroke and distance; it was your ball in play, and your third shot on the hole [Decision 26/6]. Assuming you holed the short putt, your score would have been 4.

When you abandoned your ball in play (the second ball hit from the tee) and continued play with the original ball that was “lost” under the Rules [Definition of “Lost Ball”], you hit a wrong ball. The penalty is two strokes, and the error must be corrected, meaning you must complete the hole with the ball that was in play (your second shot from the tee that landed next to the hole). If the mistake is not corrected before you tee off on the next hole, you are disqualified [Rule 15-3b]."

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