Friday, June 22, 2018

Ask Linda #1763-Breach of same Rule multiple times

Ciao Linda,
I am reading the Decisions book to find out the solution to something I saw on the course.
Scenario: The players are on the green. Player A replaced the ball after lifting, he removed the marker and then started aligning the ball to the hole by touching and rotating the ball, moving a step backward to check the alignment, then touching the ball again, etc. He did this two or three times before putting.
Decision 1-4/12 should help me to understand, but it doesn't. Should those 2 or 3 touches be considered a single action (connected actions, #3) or individual actions (#6)?
He has to be charged for a 1-stroke penalty or more?

As usual, thanks for your reply.

Best regards from the Czech Republic.

Dear Lou,

A single penalty is applied when the player breaches the same Rule more than once prior to his stroke. The situation you describe is similar to the first example under #3 of Decision 1-4/12. In that example, the player takes several practice swings in a bunker, touching the ground each time. The player is penalized only once.

In your situation, the player rotated his unmarked ball several times prior to putting the ball. The penalty for deliberately touching or moving your ball in play is one stroke [Rule 18-2]. Even though the player rotated the ball several times, he is only assessed one penalty stroke for the infraction.

The ruling is logical. The player was unaware of one Rule. It would be unfair to penalize him several times for multiple, consecutive violations of the same Rule. On the other hand, if he rotated the unmarked ball once, was immediately informed by a fellow competitor or opponent (or anyone) that his action was not permitted under the Rules, and he subsequently rotated the unmarked ball, he would incur a penalty for each of those additional rotations. As soon as the player is made aware of an infraction, he cannot avoid penalty for subsequent violations of the same Rule.

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