Rules Corner

Pavin’s Ball Moves On The Fifth Hole

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By John Van der Borght, USGA

Lake Orion, Mich. – Corey Pavin’s tee shot on the par-3 fifth hole at the U.S. Senior Open (his 14th hole) came to rest in the rough behind the green. From there he played a chip shot to just beyond the hole. A television replay showed that his ball had moved after he addressed it.

Pavin thought his ball had oscillated and returned to its original position. Unfortunately it did not return to the original position. The Definition of a Ball Deemed to Moved says that if the ball comes to rest in a new position it is deemed to have moved. Had the ball returned to its original position, Decision 18/2 (Ball Oscillates During Address) states there would be no penalty.

Rule 18-2b (Ball at Rest Moved ; Ball Moving After Address)  says that if a ball moves after address, the player is penalized one stroke and must replace the ball. If he fails to replace the ball, the penalty becomes a loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play. Since Pavin did not replace his ball, he incurred the full two-stroke penalty.

Pavin viewed the video after the round and agreed that the ball had moved and not just oscillated. The two-stroke penalty changed his score from 65 to 67.

For more information on the Rules of Golf, go to the Rules of Golf page at or watch the Rules of Golf videos at

John Van der Borght is a manager of Rules communications.

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