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STROKE PLAY: GENERAL

3/1

Disqualification in Play-Off

Q.A competitor in a stroke-play play-off incurs a penalty of disqualification. Does the disqualification apply to the play-off only or to the entire competition?

A.The disqualification applies only to the play-off.

3/2

Competitors Play Two Holes Not Included in Stipulated Round

Q.In stroke play, the stipulated round was 16 holes, i.e., the 13th and 14th holes were omitted. After play of the 12th hole, one group elected to play the 13th and 14th holes without counting their scores for those holes. They then completed the round. What is the ruling?

A.The stipulated round consists of playing the holes of the course in the sequence prescribed by the Committee – see Definition of "Stipulated Round." These competitors were in breach of the conditions of the competition and the Committee should in this case impose a penalty of disqualification under Rule 33-7.

3/3

Stipulated Round in Stroke Play

In all forms of stroke play other than foursomes, a competitor has begun his stipulated round when he makes his first stroke in that round. In foursomes stroke play, the side has begun its stipulated round when it makes its first stroke in that round.

In individual stroke play, the competitor's stipulated round has ended when he has completed play of the final hole of that round (including correction of an error under a Rule, e.g., Rule 15-3b or Rule 20-7c). In foursomes or four-ball stroke play, the stipulated round has ended when the side has completed play of the final hole of that round (including correction of an error under a Rule).

STROKE PLAY: FAILURE TO HOLE OUT

3-2/1

Fellow-Competitor's Ball Knocked from Lip of Hole by Competitor Not Replaced

Q.In stroke play, a competitor concedes his fellow-competitor a short putt and knocks the ball away. The fellow-competitor lifts his ball, does not replace it as required by Rule 18-4 and plays from the next tee. What is the ruling?

A.The fellow-competitor is disqualified (Rule 3-2).

3-2/2

Ball Blown into Hole by Competitor Not Replaced and Holed Out

Q.In stroke play, a competitor's ball stopped on the lip of the hole and on impulse he blew the ball into the hole. He did not replace the ball, as required by Rule 18-2a, and hole out. He played from the next tee. Is the competitor disqualified under Rule 3-2 for failing to hole out?

A.Yes.

Other Decisions related to Rule 3-2: See "Failure to Hole Out" and "Holed and Holing Out" in the Index.

STROKE PLAY: DOUBT AS TO PROCEDURE

3-3/0.5

Guidelines for Determining Which Ball Counts When Player Proceeds Under Rule 3-3

The purpose of Rule 3-3 is to allow a competitor to avoid a penalty when he is in doubt as to the proper procedure. The following are guidelines for determining the ball with which the competitor scores in various situations:

1. If both balls are played in accordance with the Rules, the ball selected counts if the competitor announces in advance his decision to invoke this Rule and announces in advance the ball with which he wishes to score. If the competitor does not announce or select in advance, the score with the original ball counts if played in accordance with the Rules. Otherwise the score with the second ball counts if played in accordance with the Rules.

2. If the procedure with the ball selected in advance is not in accordance with the Rules, the other ball must count if it was played in accordance with the Rules (see Decision 3-3/5).

3. If neither ball is played in accordance with the Rules, the following applies:

  1. In a case where the competitor plays both balls from a wrong place but is not guilty of a serious breach with either ball, the score with the original ball counts, with an additional penalty under the applicable Rule (see Rule 20-7c).
  2. In a case where the competitor is guilty of a serious breach with one ball and not guilty of a serious breach with the other ball, the score with the other ball counts, with an additional penalty under the applicable Rule (see Rule 20-7c).
  3. In a case where the competitor is guilty of a serious breach with both balls, the competitor is disqualified.

4. If the original ball is played and then Rule 3-3 is invoked, the score with the original ball must count, even if the Rules do not allow the procedure adopted for that ball, i.e., Rule 3-3 is not applicable in such circumstances (Note to Rule 3-3a).

3-3/1

Provisional Ball Used as Second Ball When Not Determinable Whether Original Ball Is Out of Bounds

Q.In stroke play, a player is in doubt as to whether his drive may be out of bounds. He plays a provisional ball under Rule 27-2. He finds the original ball and cannot determine whether it is out of bounds or not. The player wishes to consider the provisional ball as his second ball under Rule 3-3 and complete the play of the hole with both balls. Is this permissible?

A.Yes. In invoking Rule 3-3 after playing a provisional ball, the player must treat the provisional ball as a second ball. Although Note 2 to Rule 3-3 provides:

"A second ball played under Rule 3-3 is not a provisional ball under Rule 27-2," the reverse is not true in the present case.

3-3/2

Second Ball Played Despite Adverse Ruling

Q.In stroke play, a competitor believes he is entitled to relief under a Rule, but a referee disagrees. In spite of the ruling by the referee, the competitor invokes Rule 3-3 and opts to score with the second ball. He plays his original ball as it lies and the second ball under the Rule he believes is applicable.

May a competitor invoke Rule 3-3 in such circumstances?

A.The answer depends upon whether or not the Committee has given authority to make final decisions to its individual referees.

If the referee concerned has not been given authority to make final decisions, the competitor is entitled to invoke Rule 3-3.

If, on the other hand, the referee has been given authority to make final decisions, he may, despite his own view that the competitor is not entitled to relief, permit the competitor to invoke Rule 3-3. However, if the referee exercises his authority and gives the competitor a final decision that he is not entitled to the relief he claims, there is then no justification for the competitor invoking Rule 3-3, and he will incur a penalty of two strokes for undue delay (Rule 6-7) if he, nevertheless, goes ahead and invokes Rule 3-3. The score with his original ball, including this two-stroke penalty, must count.

3-3/3

Ball Dropped in Wrong Place and Played; Rule 3-3 Then Invoked and Second Ball Dropped in Right Place; Both Balls Played Out

Q.In stroke play, a competitor's ball comes to rest through the green on a paved path. He lifts the ball, drops it off the path at a point almost two club-lengths from the nearest point of relief (i.e., he drops in a wrong place) and plays it. The competitor's marker advises the competitor that he (the marker) believes the ball must be dropped within one club-length of the nearest point of relief. The competitor, in doubt, invokes Rule 3-3, drops a second ball within one club-length of the nearest point of relief and otherwise in accordance with Rule 24-2b(i) and opts to score with the second ball. The competitor holes out with both balls. What is the ruling?

A.Rule 20-7c states in part: "If a competitor makes a stroke from a wrong place, he incurs a penalty of two strokes under the applicable Rule. He must play out the hole with the ball played from the wrong place ... ." Thus, the competitor's score with the original ball, with a penalty of two strokes added, must count.

Rule 20-7c does not permit the second ball to count. However, the competitor incurs no penalty for having played the second ball.

3-3/4

Ball Dropped in Wrong Place But Not Played; Rule 3-3 Then Invoked and Second Ball Dropped in Right Place; Both Balls Played Out

Q.With reference to Decision 3-3/3, what would have been the ruling if the marker had advised the competitor of his possible error before the ball dropped in a wrong place was played and the competitor had invoked Rule 3-3 at that point?

A.Rule 20-7c would not have applied because Rule 3-3 was invoked before the ball dropped in a wrong place was played.

The score with the second ball would have counted and no penalty would have been incurred.

The competitor, had he not been in doubt, could have lifted the ball dropped in the wrong place, without penalty (Rule 20-6).

3-3/5

Whether Score with Second Ball Counts If Ball Dropped in Wrong Place and Played

Q.In stroke play, a competitor's ball came to rest on an artificially-surfaced road which had not been declared an integral part of the course. The competitor, not sure whether the road was an obstruction or an integral part of the course, invoked Rule 3-3 and announced that he wished his score with the second ball to count. He played his original ball as it lay and dropped and played a second ball under Rule 24-2b(i). He met all the requirements of that Rule, except that he dropped the second ball almost two club-lengths from the nearest point of relief instead of within one club-length. Does the score with the second ball count?

A.No. Rule 3-3b(i) states in part: "If the ball that the competitor selected in advance to count has been played in accordance with the Rules, the score with that ball is the competitor's score for the hole." In this case, the ball selected in advance to count (i.e., the second ball) was not played in accordance with the Rules since it was dropped almost two club-lengths from the nearest point of relief. Accordingly, the score with the original ball counts.

3-3/6

Competitor Plays Original Ball After Doubtful Situation Has Arisen and Then Invokes Rule 3-3

Q.In stroke play, a competitor's ball lies in a water hazard. A movable stake defining the margin of the hazard interferes with the area of his intended swing. He makes his next stroke, avoiding the stake. It then occurs to him that he may have been entitled to remove the stake. The competitor informs his marker that he is invoking Rule 3-3 and elects to score with a second ball. He removes the stake and drops a second ball at the spot from which his original ball was played. He holes out with both balls. What is the ruling?

A.The situation that caused the doubt arose when the competitor's ball lay in the water hazard and the stake interfered with his swing. Since the competitor took further action, i.e., played the original ball, after the situation that caused the doubt had arisen, the score with the original ball must count – see the Note to Rule 3-3a.

However, the competitor incurs no penalty for having played the second ball.

Related Decision:

26-1/5 Ball Dropped and Played Under Water Hazard Rule; Original Ball Then Found in Hazard and Holed Out as Second Ball.

3-3/6.5

Competitor Plays Second Ball Without Announcing Intention to Invoke Rule 3-3 and Fails to Report Facts to Committee

Q.In stroke play, a competitor's ball came to rest on an artificially-surfaced road which had not been declared an integral part of the course. Without announcing his decision to invoke Rule 3-3 or the ball with which he would score if the Rules permitted, the competitor dropped and played a second ball in accordance with Rule 24-2b. The competitor then played the original ball as it lay and completed play of the hole with both balls, scoring 4 with the original ball and 5 with the dropped ball.

The competitor returned his score card to the Committee with a score of 4 on the hole in question and failed to report the facts to the Committee.

What is the ruling?

A.Although the competitor did not announce his decision to invoke Rule 3-3, it is clear from the facts that he intended to invoke such Rule. As the competitor did not report the facts of the situation to the Committee before returning his score card, he is disqualified under Rule 3-3a.

3-3/7

Original Ball Strikes Second Ball or Vice Versa

Q.A competitor invokes Rule 3-3 and plays a second ball. Subsequently, the competitor makes a stroke at one ball and it strikes and moves the other ball. What is the ruling?

A.If both balls lay on the putting green prior to the stroke, the competitor incurs a penalty of two strokes if the score with the striking ball ultimately becomes the competitor's score for the hole – Rule 19-5. Otherwise, there is no penalty. The striking ball must be played as it lies – Rule 19-5. The moved ball must be replaced – Rule 18-5.

Related Decisions:

18-5/2 Original Ball Struck by Provisional Ball.

19-5/5 Provisional Ball Struck by Original Ball.

3-3/7.5

Competitor Announces Intention to Play Two Balls; Plays Original Ball Before Dropping Second Ball; Elects Not to Play Second Ball

Q.A competitor's ball comes to rest in a rut made by a maintenance vehicle. Believing the Committee might declare the rut to be ground under repair, he announces that he will invoke Rule 3-3 and play a second ball in accordance with Rule 25-1b and that he wishes his score with the second ball to count if the Rules permit. He hits his original ball from the rut to one foot from the hole and then states he will not play a second ball. He completes the hole with his original ball. On completion of the round, the facts are reported to the Committee. What is the ruling?

A.The answer depends on whether the Committee declares the rut to be ground under repair. If the Committee declares the rut to be ground under repair, the competitor is disqualified for failing to hole out (Rule 3-2) since the score with the second ball would have counted – see Rule 3-3 and Decision 3-3/8. Otherwise, the score with the original ball counts.

If a player declares his intention to invoke Rule 3-3, he may change his mind at any time before he takes further action, such as making another stroke at his original ball or putting a second ball into play. Once he invokes the Rule and takes further action, he is bound by the procedures in Rule 3-3.

Related Decisions:

18-2a/12.5 Player Entitled to Relief Without Penalty from Condition Lifts Ball; Chooses Not to Take Relief and Wishes to Proceed Under the Unplayable Ball Rule.

18-2a/27.5 Player Who States He Will Proceed Under Unplayable Ball Rule Subsequently Assesses Possibility of Playing Ball as It Lies.

28/13 After Deeming Ball Unplayable and Lifting It, Player Discovers Ball Was in Ground Under Repair.

3-3/8

Competitor Picks Up Second Ball

Q.In stroke play, a competitor, uncertain whether the road his ball lies on is an obstruction or not, invokes Rule 3-3. He plays his original ball as it lies on the road and a second ball under Rule 24-2b(i), telling his marker he wishes his score with the second ball to count if the Rules permit. Having hit his original ball onto the green and the second ball into a bunker, the competitor picks up the second ball, holes out with the original ball and plays from the next tee. At this point the matter is referred to the Committee, which establishes that the road on which the competitor's ball lay was an obstruction. What is the ruling?

A.Since the road on which the competitor's ball lay was an obstruction and therefore Rule 24-2b(i) allowed the procedure selected by the competitor, the score with the second (or selected) ball would have counted if it had been holed out. However, since the competitor did not hole out with that ball, he is disqualified (Rule 3-2).

If, on the other hand, the road had not been an obstruction, there would have been no penalty. In that case, since the Rules would not have allowed the selected procedure, a score with the second ball would not have counted, and the competitor's score with his original ball would have been his score for the hole. There is no penalty for picking up a ball played under Rule 3-3 if that ball cannot count.

3-3/9

Second Ball Played in Match Play

Q.In a match between A and B, A was unsure of his rights at a hole. Neither A nor B was aware that Rule 3-3 applies only in stroke play, so A played a second ball and holed out with both balls. At the end of the round, the matter was referred to the Committee. What is the ruling?

A.A second ball played in match play is a wrong ball – see Note 2 under Rule 2-5 and Definition of "Wrong Ball." Accordingly, A would have lost the hole had B claimed it under Rule 2-5 before either player had played from the next tee. However, B made no claim. Therefore, the score with A's original ball counts.

3-3/10

Competitor Plays Three Balls When Doubtful of Rights

Q.Are there any circumstances under which a competitor in stroke play, who is doubtful of his rights or procedure, may play a third ball under Rule 3-3?

A.No. If a competitor so proceeds, the score with the original ball or, if the original ball is not one of the balls being played, the first ball put into play shall count. If the Rules do not allow the procedure adopted for the original ball or the first ball put into play, the competitor incurs the penalty prescribed for the improper procedure.

3-3/11

Competitor Drops One Ball in Accordance with Two Different Rules Instead of Playing Second Ball

Q.In stroke play, a competitor's ball comes to rest through the green in a deep rut which has not been defined as ground under repair by the Committee. The ball is not playable due to the rut. The competitor believes that the Committee might declare the rutted area to be ground under repair. He announces to his marker or a fellow-competitor that he will drop the ball at a spot which conforms to the procedures prescribed in both Rule 25-1b(i) (Ground Under Repair) and Rule 28c (Ball Unplayable), seek a ruling from the Committee before returning his score card, and accept the penalty stroke in Rule 28 if the Committee does not declare the rutted area to be ground under repair. Is such a procedure permissible?

A.Yes. Although it would have been advisable for the competitor to proceed under Rule 3-3 in this situation, the Rules do not prohibit such a procedure – see also Decision 3-3/12.

Related Decision:

25/16 Rut Made by Tractor.

3-3/12

Competitor Drops One Ball in Accordance with Two Different Rules Instead of Playing Second Ball; Dropped Ball Rolls Back into the Condition from Which Relief Taken

Q.In the circumstances described in Decision 3-3/11, what is the ruling if the competitor drops the ball and it rolls and comes to rest where there is still interference from the same rutted area?

A.If this occurred it would be advisable for the competitor to obtain a ruling from the Committee before proceeding further or invoke Rule 3-3.

If the Committee determines that the area is ground under repair, the ball must be re-dropped (Rule 20-2c(v)). Otherwise, the dropped ball is in play and the competitor must either play the ball as it lies or, for a second time, proceed under the unplayable ball Rule (Rule 28) incurring an additional penalty stroke.

Related Decision:

20-2c/0.5 Ball Dropped from Ground Under Repair Area Rolls to Position Where Area Interferes with Stance; Whether Re-Drop Required.

3-3/13

Competitor Invokes Rule 3-3; Lifts and Drops Original Ball

Q.A competitor's ball comes to rest in an area that he feels should be marked as ground under repair. Believing the Committee might declare the area to be ground under repair, he announces that he will invoke Rule 3-3 and play a second ball in accordance with Rule 25-1b and that he wishes his score with the ball played under Rule 25-1b to count if the Rules permit. He marks the position of and lifts the original ball, drops it in accordance with Rule 25-1b and plays it. He then places a second ball where the original lay and plays it. Is the competitor's procedure correct?

A.Yes. Rule 3-3 does not require the original ball to be played as it lies and, therefore, the competitor's procedure was acceptable. However, it would also have been correct for the competitor to play his original ball as it lay and play a second ball in accordance with Rule 25-1b.

3-3/14

Competitor Invokes Rule 3-3; Second Ball Played First

Q.A competitor accidentally causes his ball to move after he has addressed it in breach of Rule 18-2b. He is unsure whether the ball must be replaced or played from its new position. He announces that he will invoke Rule 3-3, places a second ball on the spot from which the original ball was moved and states that he wishes the second ball to count if the Rules permit. He plays the second ball first and then plays the original ball. Is the competitor's procedure correct in terms of the order in which the balls were played?

A.Yes. Rule 3-3 does not require the original ball to be played first and, therefore, the competitor's procedure was acceptable.

Other Decisions related to Rule 3-3: See "Doubt as to Procedure" in the Index.

STROKE PLAY: REFUSAL TO COMPLY WITH A RULE

3-4/1

Competitor Not Given Opportunity to Lift Ball Assisting Fellow-Competitor

Q.In stroke play, A's ball lies near the hole in a position to assist B, whose ball lies off the putting green. A states his intention to lift his ball under Rule 22-1. B mistakenly believes that A does not have the right to lift his ball and plays before A has an opportunity to lift his ball. What is the ruling?

A.B is disqualified under Rule 3-4 as he intentionally denied A's right to lift his ball. It is irrelevant that B did so in ignorance of the Rules.

Related Decisions:

2/3 Refusal to Comply with Rule in Match Play.

2-4/8 Player Concedes Opponent's Next Stroke and Plays Before Opponent Has Opportunity to Lift Ball.

16-2/4 Ball Overhanging Lip of Hole Moves When Flagstick Removed.

17-4/2 Ball Resting Against Flagstick; Putt Conceded and Ball Removed Before Player Can Remove Flagstick.

22/6 Competitor Requests That Ball in Position to Assist Him Not Be Lifted.

Other Decisions related to Rule 3-4: See "Refusal to Comply with Rule" in the Index.

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