Rules Corner Blog

Choi’s Tee-Shot Into Lateral Water Hazard On No. 10

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By Rob Ockenfuss

Kohler, Wis. – Leader Na Yeon Choi’s drive on the 10th hole during the final round was hit into the lateral water hazard down the left side. Choi advanced forward to the drive zone to evaluate where the ball crossed the margin of the hazard. The determination of this location is a question of fact and must be made by reviewing the circumstances and evidence available. 

In this case, the testimony of the players, marshals, referees, as well as the available television coverage, were used to determine if the ball last crossed the lateral water hazard margin by the fairway or close to the teeing ground (Decision 34-3/9).

The final determination was that the ball last crossed the hazard margin near the teeing ground. Choi opted to proceed under Rule 26-1a, the stroke and distance option of this Rule. She went on to make a triple-bogey 8.

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

 

Leader Stays Out Of Trouble

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By Rob Ockenfuss

Kohler, Wis. – Over the first three rounds of the U.S. Women’s Open Championship, 409 Rules incidents were reported by the referees walking with each group.  Not surprisingly, over half of these incidents involved either a water hazard or lateral water hazard (Rule 26).

The par-4 fifth has presented the most number of rulings of any hole on the course, with 56. Playing as the ninth-toughest hole, the lateral water hazard surrounding the putting green has seen plenty of action. Interestingly, the fairway on this hole is the most frequently hit during the championship (95.4 percent), but the green has been hit in regulation only 40 percent of the time. It doesn’t get any easier for the players after this hole, as the par-3 sixth is the toughest hole of the championship and presents a difficult two-hole stretch in the middle of the outward nine.

One player who has managed to avoid difficulty is 54-hole leader Na Yeon Choi. Thus far, Choi has managed to stay out of trouble and has not incurred a penalty of any kind through the first three days, going a long way to build the six-shot lead she holds heading into the final round.

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

 

Ball Strikes An Outside Agency

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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

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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. 

 

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