Rules Corner Blog

Ball Strikes An Outside Agency

 Permanent link

By Rob Ockenfuss

Kohler, Wis. – Second-round leader Suzann Pettersen’s approach to the 11th hole during the third round struck a sprinkler head and bounced well beyond the hole. As defined by the Rules of Golf, a sprinkler head is an obstruction, but it is also an outside agency.

If a player’s ball in motion is accidentally stopped or deflected by an outside agency, it is a rub of the green, there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies (Rule 19-1).

These are the types of bounces that occur during a round of golf and the player must accept the result, whether good or bad. Pettersen was able to two-putt and make a par on the hole.

Rob Ockenfuss is a Manager, Rules Inquiries. Email him at rockenfuss@usga.org. 

 

One Player In A Group

 Permanent link

By Rob Ockenfuss

Kohler, Wis. – After the second round of the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open concluded Friday evening at Blackwolf Run, the field was cut to the low 60 players and ties, with 65 players making the cut at 5-over-par 149.

While groups of three were used during the first two rounds, players are paired in twosomes on Saturday and Sunday. However, when an odd number of golfers qualifies for the final 36 holes, it creates a situation where one golfer must play solo. Therefore, Meena Lee was the only competitor in the first pairing this morning.

Typically, when groups are two or three competitors, the Committee appoints each player with a marker, who is also a fellow-competitor. The marker is responsible for recording the fellow-competitor’s score (Rule 6-6). When there is only one player in a group, it is customary for the Committee to appoint a non-competitive playing marker.

Lee was given the option of having a playing marker, but she declined. Therefore, the referee for the group served as her marker. It is important to note that a marker is not a referee, but this does not preclude a referee from serving as a marker (See Definition of Marker).

Rob Ockenfuss is a Manager, Rules Inquiries. Email him at rockenfuss@usga.org. 

 

Dropping A Ball On The Putting Green

 Permanent link

By Rob Ockenfuss

Kohler, Wis. – The putting green is a special place on the golf course, to which certain permissions and prohibitions in the Rules of Golf apply.

One of those prohibitions is related to dropping the ball on the putting green. Typically, the player is not allowed to drop a ball on a putting green. For example, if a player is taking relief from an obstruction through the green, the nearest point of relief must not be on the putting green and the ball cannot be dropped on the putting green, even if the putting green is within one club-length of the nearest point of relief (Rule 24-2).The same conditions would apply for a player taking relief from an area of ground under repair near the putting green (Rule 25).

However, there are some limited exceptions.  One exception was used during the first round of on Thursday when Eun-Hee Ji and Ashley Armstrong each dropped their ball on the putting green on the 14th hole when taking relief from the lateral water hazard bordering the right side of the putting green.

Nothing in Rule 26 (Water Hazard Rule) prohibits the player from dropping on the putting green. As these players were dropping the ball no closer to the hole and within two club-lengths of the margin of the lateral water hazard, they were permitted to drop the ball on the putting green.

Rob Ockenfuss is a Manager, Rules Inquiries. Email him at rockenfuss@usga.org. 

 

Immovable Obstructions On The Putting Green

 Permanent link

By Rob Ockenfuss

Kohler, Wis. – One of the unique aspects of Blackwolf Run is the putting green shared by the ninth and 18th holes, a unique architectural feature not seen much in this country. In the middle of this shared putting surface lies a large swale, at the bottom of which sits a drain. The Rules of Golf define such an artificial object as an obstruction, from which the player is entitled to relief.

Normally, if a player has interference from an immovable obstruction on her line of play, free relief is not available.  However, when the ball lies on the putting green, Rule 24-2a provides relief from interference by an immovable obstruction which is also on the putting green and on the player’s line of putt.

During the first round, Candie Kung’s second shot came to rest in a position where the drain was between her ball and the hole.  However, after consulting the referee walking with the group, it was determined that the obstruction did not intervene on Kung’s line of play and she played the ball as it lay.

For more information, see this video.

Rob Ockenfuss is a Manager, Rules Inquiries for the USGA. Email him at rockenfuss@usga.org. 

 

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.


Chevron image
Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



Rolex image
IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express
   

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image