Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Ask Linda #1769-ID and play ball; find identical ball further ahead

Last week I played in a midweek medal with two other players. On the first tee we showed each other our golf balls. One of the players was playing a Pro V1 No. 3 with his initials NWB on the ball.

On the 11th hole he hit his ball into the trees on the right of the fairway. None of us saw where it had gone, but we walked up the hole and saw a ball in the rough on the left hand side of the fairway.

We identified it as a Pro V1 No. 3 with NWB on the ball and he then hit the ball onto the green. We then walked forward to play our balls, but saw another ball in the right rough, which, unbelievably, was also a Pro V1 No. 3 with NWB on the ball.

The player was unable to confirm which of the two balls he had started the 11th with, as they were identical. There was absolutely no discernible difference in the two balls and therefore it was impossible to say which had been hit off the tee. How should we proceed?

Many thanks,
Lulu from Cheshire, U.K.

Dear Lulu,

I consulted a senior official to be sure I would get this answer right. Here is what he wrote:

“Linda, looking at Decision 27/10, I don’t think that the benefit of the doubt goes to the player when he cannot positively identify his ball. One could argue that playing the ball on the left resulted in playing a wrong ball (since the original was hit to the right), but 27/10 says his original is lost since he can’t identify it from a stray ball.”

The player will have to play a ball under stroke and distance.

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