Presented by ROLEX           Rules and Decisions

Browse the 2012-2015 Rules

BALL AT REST MOVED: GENERAL

18/1

Ball Moves Vertically Downwards

Q.A ball lying in long grass slips vertically downwards. Or a ball is accidentally stepped on and pressed down, say a quarter of an inch, in the grass or into the ground. In each case, has the ball moved?

A.Yes, unless the ball returns to its original position. The direction of movement is immaterial.

Related Decision:

20-3d/3 Ball in Rough Moves Downward When Addressed; Ball Will Not Remain at Rest When Replaced.

18/2

Ball Oscillates During Address

Q.In addressing the ball, a player accidentally causes the ball to oscillate, but it returns to its original position. Has the ball "moved"?

A.No.

Related Decisions:

1-2/9 Player Presses Ball into Surface of Putting Green.

14-5/2 Making Stroke at Oscillating Ball.

18/3

Ball in Fork of Tree Moves in Relation to Ground But Not in Relation to Fork

Q.A ball rests in the fork of a branch of a tree. The player climbs the tree to play his next stroke. The branch bends under his weight. Although the ball has moved relative to the ground, it has not moved relative to the fork. Is the ball deemed to have moved?

A.The ball is deemed not to have moved since it did not move in relation to the fork of the tree in which it was lodged.

18/4

Television Evidence Shows Ball at Rest Changed Position But by Amount Not Reasonably Discernible to Naked Eye

Q.A player addresses his ball. He observes a slight motion of the ball but believes that it has only oscillated and has not left its original position. He therefore plays the ball as it lies. Later, the Committee becomes aware from television evidence that the ball had in fact left its position and come to rest in another place, although that change of position was such that it was not reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time of the incident. What is the ruling?

A.The ball is deemed not to have moved and therefore there is no penalty under Rule 18-2b. The Definition of "Moved" – when a ball "leaves its position and comes to rest in any other place" – does not contemplate movements of the ball that are only discernible through the use of high definition television or any other form of sophisticated technology.

When determining whether or not his ball at rest has moved, a player must make that judgment based on all the information readily available to him at the time, so that he can determine whether the ball must be replaced under Rule 18-2b or another applicable Rule. When the player's ball has left its original position and come to rest in another place by an amount that was not reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time, a player's determination that the ball has not moved will be deemed to be conclusive, even if that determination is later shown to be incorrect through the use of sophisticated technology.

On the other hand, if the Committee determines, based on all of the evidence it has available, that the ball changed its position by an amount that was reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time, the ball is deemed to have moved. As the player did not replace the ball, he incurs a penalty under the applicable Rule and Rule 20-7c for playing from a wrong place.

These principles apply to any review of technological evidence by the Committee, whether before the player makes his next stroke or any time thereafter. These principles also apply in a situation in which the player made no determination whether or not his ball at rest moved (e.g., because he had walked away from his ball after addressing it, was not looking at his ball, or otherwise did not observe any motion of the ball or have any reason to believe that his ball might have moved).

Before determining whether his ball has moved, it is advisable for the player to obtain information from nearby witnesses to the incident and to seek guidance from a referee if one is immediately available. (New)

18/5 (Reserved)

18/6 (Reserved)

18/7

Explanation of "Any Ball He Has Played"

Q.The Definition of "Equipment" excludes "any ball he (the player) has played at the hole being played." What does this mean?

A.The phrase means any ball the player has played at the hole being played except during any period when it has been lifted and has not been put back into play. Accordingly, the ball in play, a provisional ball, a second ball played under Rule 3-3 or Rule 20-7c and a ball being used for practice are not equipment.

18/7.5

Player's Ball Moved by Ball Accidentally Dropped by Opponent or Fellow-Competitor

Q.A lifts his ball on the putting green. He then accidentally drops the ball and it strikes and moves B's ball, which is in play and at rest. What is the ruling?

A.A ball that has been lifted and not put back into play is equipment – see Note 1 under the Definition of "Equipment."

In match play, A incurs a penalty stroke and B must replace his ball – Rule 18-3b.

In stroke play, there is no penalty and B must replace his ball – Rule 18-4.

18/8

Ball Moved by Golf Cart Shared by Two Players

Under the Definition of "Equipment," equipment includes a golf cart, whether or not motorized. If two or more players share a golf cart, the cart and everything in it are deemed to be the equipment of one of the players sharing the cart. If the cart is being moved by one of the players (or the partner of one of the players) sharing it, the cart and everything in it are deemed to be that player's equipment. Otherwise, the cart and everything in it are deemed to be the equipment of the player sharing the cart whose ball (or whose partner's ball) is involved.

Thus, for example, in a singles match, if A and B are sharing a cart and the cart moves A's ball which was at rest, A would be penalized one stroke if he was driving or pulling the cart (Rule 18-2a). B would be penalized one stroke if he was driving or pulling the cart (Rule 18-3b), unless the incident occurred during search (Rule 18-3a).

Related Decision:

19/1 Ball Deflected or Stopped by Golf Cart Shared by Two Players.

18/9 (Reserved)

18/10

Ball Falls into Bunker When Person Walks Nearby

Q.A ball at rest on the edge of a bunker falls into the bunker when X (a spectator, the player, an opponent or a fellow competitor) walks nearby. Should the ball be replaced in accordance with Rules 18-1 or 18-4 or must the ball be played as it lies in the bunker?

A.The answer depends on whether X in any way caused the ball to move. If it is determined that X did not in any way cause the ball to move, there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies.

If it is determined that X caused the ball to move, it must be replaced. If X is the player, the player incurs a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a; if X is an opponent, the opponent incurs a penalty stroke under Rule 18-3b. In all other cases, there is no penalty.

Whether X caused the ball to move is a question of fact to be determined in the light of all the circumstances. Relevant circumstances might include the distance between X and the ball and the nature of the ground. In the absence of evidence that X caused the ball to move, it should be concluded that the ball's movement was a coincidence.

Related Decisions:

14-6/1 Ball Moves in Water in Water Hazard After Stance Taken.

18-2a/30 Ball Moves After Player Takes Several Practice Swings Near Ball and Touches Grass Behind Ball.

18-2a/30.5 Ball Moves After Removal of Loose Impediment Near Ball.

18-2b/3 Ball Moves After Player Has Taken Stance in Bunker.

18-2b/4 Ball Moves After Player Grounds Club Short Distance Behind Ball But Before Grounding Club Immediately Behind Ball.

18/11

Meaning of "Immediately Recoverable"

Q.With reference to Note 1 under Rule 18, when is a ball to be replaced deemed not to be "immediately recoverable"?

A.When it cannot be retrieved within a few seconds.

BALL AT REST MOVED BY OUTSIDE AGENCY

18-1/1 (Reserved)

18-1/2

Status of Air When Artificially Propelled

Q.What is the status of air from a blower operated by an outside agency or from a fan?

A.Although the Definition of "Outside Agency" states that wind is not an outside agency, in this case the artificially-propelled air is considered to be an outside agency.

If such artificially-propelled air moves a ball at rest, Rule 18-1 applies.

18-1/3

Player Unaware Ball Moved by Outside Agency Does Not Replace Ball

Q.In stroke play, a player's ball was moved by an outside agency. Neither the player nor his caddie was aware that his ball had been moved, so the player played the ball without replacing it. He then learned that his ball had been moved. What is the ruling?

A.As it was not known or virtually certain that the ball had been moved by an outside agency when the player played the ball, he proceeded properly and incurred no penalty – see the Note to Rule 18-1.

Related Decisions:

15/10 Ball Thrown into Bounds by Outside Agency and Played; Neither Player Nor His Caddie Aware of Action of Outside Agency.

18-5/3 Competitor and Fellow-Competitor Unaware Ball Moved by Fellow-Competitor's Ball Until After Completion of Hole.

18-1/4

Spectator Says Ball Was Moved by Outside Agency But Player Not Sure

Q.A spectator tells a player that his ball has been moved by an outside agency. Neither the player nor his caddie was aware the ball had been moved. Is the player obliged to take the spectator's word and replace the ball on the spot from which the spectator said it was moved?

A.No. In stroke play, if it is impractical to get a decision from the Committee, the player should, under Rule 3-3, hole out both with the original ball and a second ball played from the spot from which the original ball is alleged to have been moved, and request the Committee to decide the matter at the end of the round. In reaching a decision the Committee should interrogate the spectator, if possible.

In match play, if there is no referee or representative of the Committee available within a reasonable time, the player and his opponent should, if possible, agree on the place from which the player should play his next stroke. If agreement cannot be reached, the player must proceed as he thinks best, and if the opponent does not agree with the action taken, he should lodge a claim under Rule 2-5 so that the Committee may make a decision under Rule 34-3.

18-1/5

Ball Stolen by Outside Agency from Unknown Spot

Q.At a par-3 hole, part of the green and the adjoining area cannot be seen from the tee. In this unseen area are a bunker, fairway and a dry water hazard.

A player plays towards this obscured area and cannot tell where the ball comes to rest. When the players are near the green, they see a boy running away with a ball in his hand. The boy throws the ball back and the player identifies it as his ball.

The player is unable to determine from where to play his next stroke under Rule 18-1. He does not know whether the ball was on the green, on the fairway or in one of the hazards.

How should he proceed?

A.As it was impossible to know where the ball should have been replaced under Rule 18-1, the player should, in equity (Rule 1-4), drop the ball in an area which was neither the most, nor the least, favorable of the various areas where it was equally possible that the ball originally lay.

18-1/6

Ball at Rest Moved by Blowing Tumbleweed

Q.A tumbleweed blowing across the course strikes a ball at rest and knocks it into the hole. What is the procedure?

A.In the circumstances, a tumbleweed is an outside agency. Rule 18-1 applies and the ball must be replaced without penalty.

Related Decision:

18-2a/17 Towel Dropped by Player Is Blown onto and Moves Ball.

18-1/7

Ball in Plastic Bag Moves When Bag Blown to New Position by Wind

Q.A player's ball comes to rest in a plastic bag that is lying on the ground. Before the player can invoke Rule 24-1b, a gust of wind blows the bag and the ball to a new position. In proceeding under Rule 24-1b, should the player drop the ball directly under the place where it originally lay in the bag or where it now lies in the bag?

A.Wind is not an outside agency. However, if an object being moved by the wind moves a ball, the object is an outside agency in the circumstances – see Decision 18-1/6.

In this case, the bag, not the wind, caused the ball to move. Accordingly, under Rules 18-1 and 24-1b, the player must drop the ball directly under the place where it originally lay in the bag.

18-1/8

Ball Moved by Stone Dislodged by Partner's or Opponent's Stroke

Q.In match play, a player made a stroke and dislodged an embedded stone. The stone struck his partner's or an opponent's ball which was lying about four yards ahead and moved it. What is the ruling?

A.The player is not deemed to have caused the other ball to move.

In playing his ball as it lies, the player could not, through reasonable care, have avoided dislodging the stone through his stroke. Moreover, in these circumstances it was not reasonable to expect the player to ask the partner or opponent to lift his ball under Rule 22-2 because the player could not have reasonably foreseen that his stroke would dislodge the stone ultimately leading to the movement of the opponent's ball.

Accordingly, the player's actions are deemed not to have caused the movement of the other ball, and Rules 18-2a(i) and 18-3b do not apply. The stone is deemed to have caused the movement of the other ball and, as the stone is an outside agency, Rule 18-1 applies. The player incurs no penalty, and the partner or opponent must replace his ball.

Related Decisions:

18-2a/20.5 Player's Practice Swing Moves Loose Impediment Which Moves Ball.

18-2a/21 Ball Moved Accidentally by Player in Playing Wrong Ball.

18-3b/1 Ball Moved Accidentally by Opponent in Playing His Own Ball.

18-3b/2 Opponent's Stroke Disturbs Bushes Causing Player's Ball to Move.

19-2/9 Divot Taken After Stroke Strikes Ball in Motion.

18-1/9

Ball Lodged in Tree Knocked Down by Outside Agency

Q.A player's ball is lodged in a tree about eight feet off the ground. A spectator knocks the ball down from the tree. In complying with Rule 18-1, it is impossible to replace the ball in the prescribed manner in the tree because the spot where it lay in the tree is unknown or unreachable. What is the ruling?

A.Rules 20-3c and 20-3d cover cases in which the spot where a ball is to be placed or replaced is not determinable or a ball fails to come to rest on the spot on which it is placed. However, these Rules do not contemplate a case such as this one. Thus, in equity (Rule 1-4), if the position of the ball in the tree was such that the player could have made a stroke at it, the ball must be placed in the tree as near as possible to the spot from which it was moved, without penalty. Otherwise, the player must proceed under the unplayable ball Rule.

Related Decisions:

14/7 Striking at Tree Branch to Move Ball Lodged Higher in Branch.

18-2a/29 Ball Dislodged from Tree; Replacement of Ball Not Possible.

18-1/10 (Reserved)

18-1/11 (Reserved)

18-1/12

Ball Replaced and at Rest Is Thereafter Moved by Wind

Q.A player replaces his ball on the putting green and the ball is at rest. Before the player addresses the ball, a sudden gust of wind blows the ball farther from the hole. The player plays the ball from its new position. Is that correct?

A.Yes. Wind is not an outside agency – see Definition of "Outside Agency." Accordingly, Rule 18-1 does not apply.

Related Decisions:

18-2a/7 Ball Moved by Wind Replaced.

20-2c/3.5 Dropped Ball Comes to Rest and Then Rolls Out of Bounds.

20-3d/1 Placed Ball Rolls into Hole.

20-4/1 Ball Replaced on Putting Green But Ball-Marker Not Removed; Ball Then Moves.

BALL AT REST MOVED BY PLAYER, PARTNER, CADDIE OR EQUIPMENT

18-2a/1

Player Who Misses Tee Shot Tees Ball Lower Before Making Next Stroke

Q.A player playing from the teeing ground misses the ball completely. He pushes his tee further into the ground and plays. What is the ruling?

A.When the player made a stroke, the ball was in play (see Definition of "Ball in Play"). By pushing the tee further into the ground, he moved the ball and incurred a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a and was required to replace it. However, when the player made a stroke at the ball without replacing it, he played under penalty of stroke and distance (see Rule 27-1a). This procedure overrides Rule 18-2a and, therefore, the penalty under Rule 18-2a does not apply.

18-2a/2

Ball Falling Off Tee When Stroke Just Touches It Is Picked Up and Re-Teed

Q.A player making his first stroke on a hole just touched the ball and it fell off the tee. He picked up the ball, re-teed it and played out the hole. What is the ruling?

A.When the player made a stroke, the ball was in play (see Definition of "Ball in Play"). When he lifted the ball, he incurred a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a and was required to replace it. However, when the player made a stroke at the re-teed ball, he played a ball under penalty of stroke and distance (see Rule 27-1a). This procedure overrides Rule 18-2a and, therefore, the penalty under Rule 18-2a does not apply.

Decisions related to 18-2a/1 and 18-2a/2:

10-2c/1 Ball Played Out of Turn from Tee Abandoned and Another Ball Played in Proper Order.

18-2a/11 Tee Shot Wrongly Thought to Be Out of Bounds Lifted; Competitor Plays Another Ball from Tee.

27-2b/10 Provisional Ball Lifted Subsequently Becomes Ball in Play; Competitor Then Plays from Wrong Place.

29-1/9 Both Player and Partner Drive at Same Tee in Foursome Play.

18-2a/3

Ball Lifted and Dropped Away from Boundary Stake Under Obstruction Rule

Q.A player's swing is interfered with by a stake defining out of bounds. The player mistakenly considers the stake an obstruction and he lifts his ball and drops it in the manner prescribed in Rule 24-2b. What is the ruling?

A.The player incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a and he must replace his ball before playing his next stroke. Otherwise, he loses the hole in match play or he incurs a total penalty of two strokes in stroke play – see penalty statement under Rule 18.

Related Decision:

34-3/6 Player Proceeds Under an Inapplicable Rule; Committee's Decision.

18-2a/4

Ball Lifted and Dropped Away from Movable Obstruction

Q.A player's ball comes to rest against a movable obstruction. The player lifts the ball and drops it away from the obstruction instead of removing the obstruction as provided in Rule 24-1. What is the ruling?

A.The player incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a and he must replace his ball before playing his next stroke. Otherwise, he loses the hole in match play or he incurs a total penalty of two strokes in stroke play – see penalty statement under Rule 18.

18-2a/5 (Reserved)

18-2a/6 (Reserved)

18-2a/7

Ball Moved by Wind Replaced

Q.In stroke play, a competitor's ball was moved by wind. Since wind is not an outside agency (see Definition of "Outside Agency"), he should have played it from where it came to rest, but he replaced it. What is the ruling?

A.The competitor incurred one penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a, and, before playing his next stroke, he should have replaced the ball on the spot where it came to rest after being moved by the wind. If he did not do so, he incurred a total penalty of two strokes – see penalty statement under Rule 18.

Related Decisions:

18-1/12 Ball Replaced and at Rest Is Thereafter Moved by Wind.

20-2c/3.5 Dropped Ball Comes to Rest and Then Rolls Out of Bounds.

20-3d/1 Placed Ball Rolls into Hole.

20-4/1 Ball Replaced on Putting Green But Ball-Marker Not Removed; Ball Then Moves.

18-2a/8

Ball Played from Ground Under Repair Picked Up and Relief Taken Under Ground Under Repair Rule

Q.A player, unaware that his ball was in ground under repair, played the ball as it lay. The player then learned that his ball had been in ground under repair, picked up the ball played from the ground under repair, dropped it in accordance with Rule 25-1b and played out the hole. What is the ruling?

A.When the player played from the ground under repair, which is permissible, relief under Rule 25-1b was no longer available and the ball was in play where it lay.

When the player picked up his ball in play, he incurred a penalty stroke – Rule 18-2a. Since he did not replace the ball, he incurred a penalty of loss of hole in match play or a total penalty of two strokes in stroke play – see penalty statement under Rule 18.

18-2a/8.5

Ball Played from Ground Under Repair Abandoned and Relief Taken Under Ground Under Repair Rule

Q.In Decision 18-2a/8, the player picked up the ball played from ground under repair and played it from another spot. What would be the ruling if the player abandoned the original ball by dropping and playing another ball under ground under repair procedures?

A.After the player played from ground under repair, which is permissible, relief under Rule 25-1b was no longer available, and the player was required to play his ball as it lay (Rule 13-1). When he dropped the other ball, he was substituting a ball and that ball became the ball in play (Rule 20-4).

If the location of the original ball was known at the time the substituted ball was dropped, the substitution was not permitted. When he did not correct his error as provided in Rule 20-6 and made a stroke at the wrongly substituted ball, he was in breach of Rule 15-2 as well as Rule 20-7 for playing from a wrong place and the applicable Rule is Rule 13-1. In match play, he incurred a penalty of loss of hole (Rule 15-2 or 20-7b). In stroke play, he incurred a penalty of two strokes for playing from a wrong place (Rule 20-7c). There is no additional penalty for incorrectly substituting a ball (see Exception to Rule 15-2).

If the location of the original ball was not known at the time the substituted ball was dropped, he was required to proceed under Rule 27-1, in which case the substitution was permitted. Since the substituted ball was not dropped at the spot required by Rule 27-1, he played from a wrong place. In match play, he incurred a penalty of loss of hole (Rule 20-7b). In stroke play, he incurred a penalty of one stroke under Rule 27-1 and an additional penalty of two strokes under Rule 20-7c for playing from a wrong place. If the breach was a serious one, he is subject to disqualification unless he corrected his error as provided in Rule 20-7c.

Related Decisions:

15/8 Ball Played Under Rule for Ball Lost in Ground Under Repair After Another Ball Played Under Stroke-and-Distance Procedure.

20-7c/4 Competitor's Ball Played by Fellow-Competitor; Competitor Substitutes Another Ball at Wrong Place, Plays It and Then Abandons It and Plays Out Original Ball From Right Place.

25-1c/2 Ball Dropped and Played Under Ground Under Repair Rule in Absence of Knowledge or Virtual Certainty That Original Ball in Ground Under Repair.

18-2a/9

Ball Lifted Without Authority Dropped Instead of Being Replaced

Q.A player lifted his ball without being entitled to under the Rules and incurred a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a. He then learned of his error, dropped the ball at the spot from which it was lifted instead of replacing it as required by Rule 18-2a, and played it. What is the ruling?

A.The player failed to replace his ball as required by Rule 18-2a, and therefore incurred a penalty of loss of hole in match play or a total of two strokes in stroke play – see penalty statement under Rule 18.

Related Decisions:

18-2a/21.5 Ball Moved Accidentally; Spot Where Ball Originally Lay Not Determinable; Player Places Ball Instead of Dropping It.

20-2c/2 Ball Dropped Third Time When Placement Required After Second Drop.

20-6/1 Ball Placed When Required to Be Dropped or Dropped When Required to Be Placed; Correction of Error.

18-2a/10

Dropped Ball Lifted and Re-Dropped When It Should Have Been Played as It Lay; Ball Then Lifted Again and Placed

Q.In stroke play, a competitor whose ball was in ground under repair through the green elected to take relief under Rule 25-1b(i). When the ball was dropped, it rolled towards the hole but came to rest not more than two club-lengths from where it first struck the ground and not nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief.

Incorrectly believing that Rule 20-2c applied, the competitor lifted the ball and re-dropped it, at which time the ball rolled towards the hole as before. The competitor again lifted the ball, placed it where it first struck the ground when re-dropped and made his next stroke. Is the competitor penalized two strokes or four strokes?

A.Two strokes. The ball when first dropped was in play – see Rule 20-4. The competitor was in breach of Rule 18-2a when he lifted it. Because the competitor failed to replace his ball at the spot at which it came to rest when first dropped, he incurred a total penalty of two strokes – see penalty statement under Rule 18. (Revised)

Other Decisions related to whether multiple penalties apply: See "Multiple Penalty Situations" in the Index.

18-2a/11

Tee Shot Wrongly Thought to Be Out of Bounds Lifted; Competitor Plays Another Ball from Tee

Q.In stroke play, a competitor hits his tee shot into a practice area. Thinking that the ball is out of bounds, he lifts it and plays another ball from the tee. He then discovers that the practice area is not out of bounds. What is the ruling?

A.When the player lifted his ball in play, he incurred a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a and was required to replace it. However, when the player made a stroke from where the previous stroke was made (Rule 20-5), he played a ball under penalty of stroke and distance (see Rule 27-1a). This procedure overrides Rule 18-2a and, therefore, the penalty under Rule 18-2a does not apply.

Related Decisions:

10-2c/1 Ball Played Out of Turn from Tee Abandoned and Another Ball Played in Proper Order.

18-2a/1 Player Who Misses Tee Shot Tees Ball Lower Before Making Next Stroke.

18-2a/2 Ball Falling Off Tee When Stroke Just Touches It Is Picked Up and Re-Teed.

27-2b/10 Provisional Ball Lifted Subsequently Becomes Ball in Play; Competitor Then Plays from Wrong Place (by returning to the teeing ground and playing it).

29-1/9 Both Player and Partner Drive at Same Tee in Foursome Play.

18-2a/12

Player Entitled to Relief from Condition Lifts Ball; Player Then Replaces Ball and Plays It from Original Position

Q.A player elects to take relief from an immovable obstruction or abnormal ground condition and lifts his ball. He then realizes that the only area in which he may drop under the Rules is such that his ball, when dropped, will almost certainly be unplayable. He replaces his ball and plays it from its original position. What is the ruling?

A.The player was entitled to lift the ball to take relief under Rule 24 or 25. However, by subsequently deciding not to take relief, his right to lift the ball was negated and he incurred a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a for having lifted his ball in play.

Related Decisions:

20-6/5 Player Drops Ball Under Rules and Then Wishes to Replace Ball in Original Position.

20-7/2 Ball Deemed Unplayable in Water Hazard Is Dropped in Hazard and Played.

25-1b/26 Player Unaware Ball in Water Hazard Takes Relief from Interference by Burrowing Animal Hole.

27/17 Competitor Plays Out of Turn Other Than From Teeing Ground and Puts Another Ball into Play at Spot of Previous Stroke.

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

Q.A player elects to take relief from an immovable obstruction or abnormal ground condition and lifts his ball. He then realizes that the only area in which he may drop under the Rules is such that his ball, when dropped, will almost certainly be unplayable. May the player deem the ball unplayable and proceed under Rule 28?

A.Yes. The player has the following options:

1. replace the ball in its original position under penalty of one stroke (Rule 18-2a) and then proceed under Rule 28, incurring an additional penalty of one stroke; or

2. proceed directly under Rule 28b or c, without replacing the ball and using the spot where the ball originally lay as the reference point for the relief procedure, incurring a penalty stroke under Rule 28 and an additional penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a; or

3. drop the ball in accordance with Rule 24 or 25 and then, using its new position as a reference point, proceed under Rule 28incurring a penalty of one stroke; or

4. proceed directly under Rule 28a, without dropping the ball in accordance with Rule 24 or 25, incurring a penalty of one stroke under Rule 28 and no penalty under Rule 18-2a, as he does not need to establish a new reference point before proceeding under Rule 28a.

Related Decisions:

3-3/7.5 Competitor Announces Intention to Play Two Balls; Plays Original Ball Before Dropping Second Ball; Elects Not to Play Second Ball.

9-2/13 Player Who Told Opponent He Would Proceed Under Water Hazard Rule Changes Mind After Opponent Plays.

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.

18-2a/13

Ball Lifted Without Authority and Cleaned

Q.A player's ball comes to rest on the apron of a green. Mistakenly believing that the ball is on the green, the player marks, lifts and cleans it. The player incurs a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a for lifting the ball without authority under the Rules. Does the player incur an additional penalty stroke under Rule 21 for cleaning the ball?

A.No. Rule 21 states that a ball may be cleaned when lifted except when it has been lifted in accordance with Rule 5-3, 12-2 or 22.

Related Decision:

34-3/3.5 Player Lifts Ball Without Authority Due to Misunderstanding Referee's Instructions.

18-2a/13.5

Ball Lifted and Thrown into Pond in Anger

Q.A player played a poor shot and his ball came to rest through the green near a lake. In anger, the player lifted his ball and threw it into the lake from where it could not be retrieved. The player placed another ball on the spot from which the original ball was lifted and holed out. What is the ruling?

A.Although Note 1 to Rule 18 states "If a ball to be replaced under this Rule is not immediately recoverable, another ball may be substituted," as the player's ball became irrecoverable only due to the player's subsequent actions after his breach of Rule 18-2a, the Note is not applicable.

The player lost the hole in match play – Rule 15-2.

In stroke play, the player incurred the general penalty of two strokes under Rule 18 for incorrectly substituting a ball, but there is no additional penalty for lifting the ball without authority (see Rule 15-2 and the penalty statement under Rule 18).

Related Decisions:

5-3/3.5 Player Lifts Ball on Putting Green, Throws Ball into Lake and Then Announces That Ball Is Unfit for Play.

15-2/1 Player Substitutes Another Ball on Putting Green Because Original Ball Thrown to Caddie for Cleaning Came to Rest in Lake.

18-2a/14

Caddie on Own Initiative Lifts Ball for Identification

Q.During search for A's ball, A's caddie found a ball and lifted it for identification without the authority of A and without A's announcing in advance his intention to do so. The ball was identified as A's. What is the ruling?

A.Since the ball was lifted other than in accordance with the Rules, Rule 18-2a applies and A incurs a penalty of one stroke. Rule 18-2a overrides Rule 12-2 in the circumstances. Accordingly, an additional penalty of one stroke under Rule 12-2 for failing to announce the intention to lift the ball for identification purposes is not applicable.

18-2a/15

Caddie on Own Initiative Lifts Ball Considering It Unplayable

Q.A player's caddie, considering the player's ball to be in an unplayable lie, lifted the ball before the player had an opportunity to inspect the lie. What is the ruling?

A.A player's caddie may not deem the player's ball to be unplayable (Rule 28). Therefore, the player incurred a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a when the caddie lifted the ball. The player may replace the ball and play it or invoke the unplayable ball Rule (Rule 28). If the player invokes Rule 28, he may choose to estimate the original location of the ball rather than replace it, but in either case, by invoking Rule 28, the player incurs an additional penalty of one stroke under that Rule.

Decisions related to 18-2a/14 and 18-2a/15:

2-4/3.5 Stroke Conceded by Caddie.

26-1/9 Caddie Lifts Ball in Water Hazard Without Player's Authority.

34-3/3.5 Player Lifts Ball Without Authority Due to Misunderstanding Referee's Instructions.

18-2a/16

Competitor's Ball Picked Up by Fellow-Competitor at Competitor's Request

Q.A competitor, mistakenly thinking his ball in play in the rough was a wrong ball, asked his fellow-competitor to pick up the ball. The fellow-competitor did so and then the error was discovered. Is the competitor subject to penalty under Rule 18-2a or exempt from penalty by virtue of Rule 18-4?

A.Because the lifting of the ball by the fellow-competitor was at the request of the competitor, it would not be correct to exonerate the competitor under Rule 18-4.

The competitor incurred a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2a and he was required to replace his ball.

18-2a/17

Towel Dropped by Player Is Blown onto and Moves Ball

Q.A player dropped a towel on the ground. The wind blew the towel onto the player's ball and moved it. What is the ruling?

A.As the player's equipment caused the ball to move, the player incurred a penalty stroke and must replace the ball – Rule 18-2a.

Related Decision:

18-1/6 Ball at Rest Moved by Blowing Tumbleweed.

18-2a/18

Opponent's Ball Knocked Away by Player After Concession Moves Player's Ball

Q.In singles match play, A concedes B's next stroke and knocks B's ball away. B's ball in motion moves A's ball. What is the ruling?

A.As A caused his own ball to move, he incurred a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a, and he must replace his ball.

18-2a/19

Ball Moved Accidentally by Practice Swing Prior to Tee Shot

Q.Before playing from the teeing ground, a player took a practice swing, in the course of which he accidentally struck and moved the teed ball with his club. Did the player play a stroke or incur a penalty?

A.The player did not make a stroke – see Definition of "Stroke." Since the ball was not in play – see Definition of "Ball in Play" – he incurred no penalty under Rule 18-2a. The player must put a ball into play from the teeing ground.

18-2a/20

Ball in Play Moved Accidentally by Practice Swing

Q.A player makes a practice swing and accidentally moves his ball in play with his club. Has he made a stroke?

A.No. He had no intention of moving the ball – see Definition of "Stroke." However, he incurs a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a for moving his ball in play, and the ball must be replaced.

Decisions related to 18-2a/19 and 18-2a/20:

7-2/7 Practice Swing Dislodges Concealed Ball.

11-3/3 Original Ball Out of Bounds; Ball Played Under Stroke-and-Distance Procedure Falls Off Tee at Address.

15/2 Player's Stroke at Own Ball Dislodges Concealed Ball.

18-2a/20.5

Player's Practice Swing Moves Loose Impediment Which Moves Ball

Q.In making a practice swing near his ball, a player moves a loose impediment (e.g., a stone), which causes his ball in play to move. What is the ruling?

A.The player is deemed to have caused his ball in play to move in breach of Rule 18-2a; he incurs a one-stroke penalty and must replace the ball.

This ruling differs from that in Decision 18-1/8 both because it is reasonably foreseeable that a practice swing will move loose impediments that may in turn cause a ball in play to move, and because a player can, through reasonable care, avoid taking practice swings that might produce such a result.

18-2a/21

Player Accidentally Moves Own Ball in Playing Wrong Ball

Q.In stroke play, a player plays a wrong ball from a bunker. In making the stroke, his club accidentally moves another ball nearby, which was not visible before he played and, in fact, turns out to be his ball. The player incurs a two-stroke penalty under Rule 15-3b for playing a wrong ball. Does he also incur a penalty under Rule 18-2a for accidentally moving his ball in play?

A.No. As the player's ball was not visible before he made a stroke at the wrong ball, it was not reasonably foreseeable that his ball could be moved by that stroke; therefore, he is not penalized for moving his ball. He must replace his ball in play, and if necessary, the lie must be re-created. If the ball is not replaced correctly before he makes his next stroke, the player incurs a penalty of two strokes. As the failure to replace the ball is considered a separate act from playing the wrong ball, the player incurs a total penalty of four strokes. (Revised)

Decisions related to 18-2a/20.5 and 18-2a/21:

18-1/8 Ball Moved by Stone Dislodged by Partner's or Opponent's Stroke.

18-3b/1 Ball Moved Accidentally by Opponent in Playing His Own Ball.

18-3b/2 Opponent's Stroke Disturbs Bushes Causing Player's Ball to Move.

19-2/9 Divot Taken After Stroke Strikes Ball in Motion.

30-3f/9 Player's Ball Moved by Partner in Playing His Own Ball.

18-2a/21.3

Ball Moved Accidentally and Original Lie Altered; Player Places Ball in Wrong Place and Plays

Q.A player accidentally steps on his ball in the rough and pushes it into the ground, incurring a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a. The original lie of the ball was known and, instead of placing the ball in the nearest most similar lie within one club-length of the original lie as required by Rule 20-3b, the player places the ball almost two club-lengths away from the original lie and makes his next stroke.

In match play, it is clear that the player incurs the general penalty for a breach of Rule 18 or 20-3b, and loses the hole.

In stroke play, does the player incur an additional penalty of two strokes for a breach of Rule 20-3b or a total penalty of two strokes under Rule 18?

A.In stroke play, the player incurs a total penalty of two strokes under Rule 18.

Rule 18 requires replacement of a ball moved accidentally. If some other Rule – in this case Rule 20-3b – requires a moved ball to be placed somewhere else, the player is considered to be in breach of Rule 18if he places the ball other than as prescribed by the other Rule.

18-2a/21.5

Ball Moved Accidentally; Spot Where Ball Originally Lay Not Determinable; Player Places Ball Instead of Dropping It

Q.A player accidentally moves his ball in the rough, incurring a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a. The spot where the ball originally lay is not determinable. Instead of dropping the ball as near as possible to the spot where it originally lay as required by Rule 20-3c, the player places the ball as near as possible to that spot and plays his next stroke.

In match play, it is clear that the player incurs the general penalty for a breach of Rule 18 or 20-3c and loses the hole.

In stroke play, does the player incur an additional penalty of two strokes for a breach of Rule 20-3c or a total penalty of two strokes under Rule 18?

A.In stroke play, the player incurs a total penalty of two strokes under Rule 18 – see Decision 18-2a/21.3.

Related Decisions:

18-2a/9 Ball Lifted Without Authority Dropped Instead of Being Replaced.

20-2c/2 Ball Dropped Third Time When Placement Required After Second Drop.

20-6/1 Ball Placed When Required to Be Dropped or Dropped When Required to Be Placed; Correction of Error.

18-2a/22

Ball Moved Accidentally by Backward Movement of Club After Stroke Misses; Ball Comes to Rest Out of Bounds

Q.A player misses a shot completely and, in swinging his club back, he accidentally knocks his ball backwards. Was the backward swing a stroke? If the ball comes to rest out of bounds, how does the player proceed?

A.The backward swing was not a stroke. A stroke is the forward movement of the club made with the intention of striking at, and moving, the ball – see Definition of "Stroke."

In addition to counting the missed stroke, the player incurs a penalty stroke for moving his ball with the backward swing (Rule 18-2a), and the ball must be replaced. The fact that the ball lay out of bounds is irrelevant.

18-2a/23

Ball Knocked from Lip of Hole in Disgust

Q.In stroke play, a competitor's ball stops on the lip of the hole. In disgust the competitor knocks his ball off the green with the back of his putter. What is the ruling?

A.The competitor must replace the ball under penalty of one stroke (Rule 18-2a). The competitor is not considered to have made a stroke.

Related Decision:

1-2/4 Player Jumps Close to Hole to Cause Ball to Fall into Hole.

18-2a/24 (Reserved)

18-2a/25

Ball Moved Accidentally by Player During Suspension of Play

Q.During a suspension of play, a player elects to leave his ball in position on the course. Prior to the resumption of play, the player accidentally causes his ball to move (e.g., he drops his club on the ball). What is the ruling?

A.Although play was suspended when the player accidentally moved his ball, the ball was in play (see Definition of "Ball in Play"). Therefore, the player incurred a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a and the ball must be replaced.

Related Decision:

6-8d/4 Ball Visible from Tee Disappears While Play Suspended.

18-2a/26

Ball Dislodged from Tree When Player Climbs Tree to Play Stroke

Q.As a player is climbing a tree to play a ball lodged in the tree, the ball falls to the ground. Does the player incur a penalty?

A.Yes, one stroke under Rule 18-2a, and the ball must be replaced.

18-2a/27

Ball Dislodged from Tree; Circumstances in Which Player Not Penalized

Q.A player whose ball is lodged high in a tree wishes to dislodge it by shaking the tree or throwing a club so that he can identify it and proceed under the unplayable ball Rule. Is this permissible?

A.Yes. The player should state his intention before taking such action to avoid any question being raised as to whether a penalty would be incurred under Rule 18-2a.

18-2a/27.5

Player Who States He Will Proceed Under Unplayable Ball Rule Subsequently Assesses Possibility of Playing Ball as It Lies

Q.A player's ball is in a bad lie and in such a position that he considers that he may move the ball in breach of Rule 18-2a when he gets close to it. As provided in Decision 18-2a/27, the player may protect himself against penalty by stating that he will proceed under Rule 28. The player makes such an announcement, but, upon reaching the area where his ball lies and finding that the ball did not move, takes a club and begins to assess the possibility of playing the ball as it lies. What would be the ruling if the player then accidentally caused the ball to move?

A.Despite the fact that the player has stated that he intends to proceed under Rule 28, if it becomes clear from the player's actions that he is considering playing the ball as it lies, the Committee should rule that the player's intention to deem the ball unplayable has ceased and, therefore, the player would incur a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a if he thereafter caused his ball to move.

Related Decisions:

3-3/7.5 Competitor Announces Intention to Play Two Balls; Plays Original Ball Before Dropping Second Ball; Elects Not to Play Second Ball.

9-2/13 Player Who Told Opponent He Would Proceed Under Water Hazard Rule Changes Mind After Opponent Plays.

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.

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

18-2a/28

Ball Dislodged from Tree; Circumstances in Which Player Penalized

Q.A player could not find his ball. Believing the ball might be lodged in a tree, he shook the tree and his ball fell to the ground. He played the ball from where it came to rest. What is the ruling?

A.The player incurred one penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a for moving his ball. He should have replaced the ball. Since he did not do so, in match play he lost the hole. In stroke play, he incurred a total penalty of two strokes, unless it was a serious breach (see Rule 18 penalty statement and Rule 20-7c). (Revised)

18-2a/29

Ball Dislodged from Tree; Replacement of Ball Not Possible

Q.A player, believing his ball is lodged in a tree, shakes the tree in order to dislodge it. His ball falls to the ground. According to Decision 18-2a/28, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2a and must replace his ball. Suppose, however, that the player cannot replace his ball either:

(1) because the spot where it lay in the tree is not determinable, or

(2) because the ball fails to remain on the correct spot when replaced, or

(3) because the player cannot reach the spot where the ball lay.

How should the player proceed in each of these three circumstances?

A.Rules 20-3c and 20-3d would normally cover circumstances (1) and (2), but these Rules do not contemplate a situation such as the one described. Accordingly, in equity (Rule 1-4), in the first two circumstances the ball must be placed in the tree as near as possible to the spot from which it was moved, and in the third circumstance the player must proceed under the unplayable ball Rule, incurring an additional penalty stroke.

Related Decisions:

14/7 Striking at Tree Branch to Move Ball Lodged Higher in Branch.

18-1/9 Ball Lodged in Tree Knocked Down by Outside Agency.

18-2a/30

Ball Moves After Player Takes Several Practice Swings Near Ball and Touches Grass Behind Ball

Q.A player took several practice swings about one foot from his ball which was lying in light rough, and his club came in contact with the ground. He then took his stance, touched grass behind the ball with the clubhead but did not ground the club. At that point the ball moved.

The player claimed that no penalty was incurred because he had not addressed the ball. However, the Committee judged that the practice swings and the touching of the grass behind the ball caused the ball to move, and therefore the player incurred a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a. Was the Committee correct?

A.It is a question of fact whether the player caused his ball to move and thus incurred a penalty under Rule 18-2a. Because of the practice swings and touching of the grass, the weight of evidence is against the player and therefore the Committee's decision was correct.

18-2a/30.5

Ball Moves After Removal of Loose Impediment Near Ball

Q.Through the green, a player's ball moves after the player removed a loose impediment near, but not touching, the ball. What is the ruling?

A.It is a question of fact whether the player caused his ball to move and thus incurred a penalty under Rule 18-2a. The Committee should evaluate all the evidence and make a decision based on the weight of that evidence. The Committee should consider a number of factors, including the proximity of the loose impediment to the ball, the force and means with which the loose impediment was removed, the presence of a strong wind and the delay, if any, between the removal of the loose impediment and the movement of the ball. Any doubt as to whether the player caused the ball to move should be resolved against the player.

Decisions related to 18-2a/30 and 18-2a/30.5:

14-6/1 Ball Moves in Water in Water Hazard After Stance Taken.

18/10 Ball Falls into Bunker When Person Walks Nearby.

18-2b/3 Ball Moves After Player Has Taken Stance in Bunker.

18-2b/4 Ball Moves After Player Grounds Club Short Distance Behind Ball But Before Grounding Club Immediately Behind Ball.

18-2a/31

Ball Touched Accidentally in Removing Loose Impediments

Q.In removing loose impediments from the vicinity of his ball lying through the green, the player accidentally touches the ball with his hand but does not move it. Is there any penalty?

A.No. Under Rule 18-2a there is only a penalty if the player, his partner or either of their caddies purposely touches the player's ball; it may be touched accidentally provided it does not move.

18-2a/32

Ball Touched with Fir Cone or Stick to Prevent Movement When Loose Impediments Removed

Q.A player placed a fir cone or stick against his ball to prevent the ball from moving when he moved some loose impediments. Is this permissible?

A.No. The player purposely touched his ball in play, contrary to Rule 18-2a, and incurred a penalty of one stroke.

Decisions related to 18-2a/31 and 18-2a/32:

23-1/11 Ball Moved Accidently by Foot During Removal of Loose Impediment on Putting Green.

24-1/4 Holding Ball in Place While Removing Obstruction.

18-2a/33

Rotating Ball on Putting Green Without Marking Position

Q.A player rotates his ball on the putting green to line up the trademark with the hole. He did not lift the ball, mark its position or change its position. Is there a penalty?

A.Yes, one stroke for touching the ball other than as provided for in the Rules (Rule 18-2a). Under Rules 16-1b and 20-1, a ball on the putting green may be lifted (or touched and rotated) after its position has been marked. If the player had marked the position of the ball before rotating it, there would have been no penalty.

Related Decisions:

12-2/2 Touching and Rotating Half-Buried Ball in Rough for Identification Purposes.

20-3a/2 Using Line on Ball for Alignment.

BALL MOVING AFTER ADDRESS

18-2b/1

Ball Moves After Address; Movement May Have Been Due to the Effects of Gravity

Q.A player addressed his ball and it subsequently moved. It is uncertain what caused the ball to move as the conditions at the time were calm, there were no outside agencies present and the player did nothing obvious to cause the ball to move. The player believed that, as he did not cause his ball to move, it must have moved as a result of the effects of gravity and, therefore, the Exception to Rule 18-2b should apply. What is the ruling?

A.The player incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 18-2b and the ball must be replaced.

The effects of gravity do not satisfy the Exception to Rule 18-2b. The Exception only applies when it is known or virtually certain that the player did not cause his ball to move. In order to meet this standard, it must be known or virtually certain that some other observable factor (e.g., wind, water or an outside agency) caused the ball to move. Otherwise, the player is deemed to have caused the movement and Rule 18-2b applies. (New)

18-2b/2

Ball Addressed in Hazard

Q.Can a player address his ball in a hazard?

A.As the definition of addressing the ball states that "the player has addressed the ball when he has grounded the club immediately in front of or immediately behind the ball, whether or not he has taken his stance," generally the player cannot address his ball in a hazard without incurring the general penalty under Rule 13-4.

18-2b/3

Ball Moves After Player Has Taken Stance in Bunker

Q.In a bunker, a player's ball moved after he had taken his stance. What is the ruling?

A.If the player's approach to the ball or the act of taking his stance caused the ball to move, the player incurred a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a and the ball must be replaced. Otherwise, he incurs no penalty.

18-2b/4

Ball Moves After Player Grounds Club Short Distance Behind Ball But Before Grounding Club Immediately Behind Ball

Q.A player's routine prior to making a stroke is as follows: he first grounds the club a short distance behind, but not immediately behind the ball. Then, he places the clubhead immediately behind the ball and makes the stroke.

If the ball moves after he grounds the club a short distance behind, but before he grounds it immediately behind, the ball, does he incur a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2b (Ball Moving After Address)?

A.No. A player has not addressed the ball until he has placed the clubhead immediately in front of or behind the ball – see Definition of "Addressing the Ball."

However, it is a question of fact to be resolved by reference to all available evidence whether the player in fact caused the ball at rest to move. If the player did so, he incurs a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2a and must replace his ball. Otherwise, the ball must be played from its new location without penalty unless another Rule applies.

18-2b/5

Ball Moves When Club Rested on Grass Immediately Behind Ball

Q.A player's ball is at rest. He rests his club on the grass immediately behind the ball and the ball moves. What is the ruling?

A.If the grass had been compressed to the point where it would support the weight of the club, the club is considered grounded. Therefore, the player has addressed the ball and Rule 18-2b applies. The player incurs a one-stroke penalty and must replace his ball unless it is known or virtually certain that some other agency (e.g., a dog or wind) caused the ball to move.

If the grass had not been compressed to the point where it would support the weight of the club, the player has not grounded his club and, therefore, has not addressed his ball. The player incurs no penalty under Rule 18-2b, but he is subject to penalty under Rule 18-2a if the player's actions caused the ball to move.

Decisions related to 18-2b/3, 18-2b/4 and 18-2b/5:

14-6/1 Ball Moves in Water in Water Hazard After Stance Taken.

18/10 Ball Falls into Bunker When Person Walks Nearby.

18-2a/30 Ball Moves After Player Takes Several Practice Swings Near Ball and Touches Grass Behind Ball.

18-2a/30.5 Ball Moves After Removal of Loose Impediment Near Ball.

18-2b/5.5

Placing Clubhead on Ground in Front of Ball When Addressing

Q.A player places his clubhead on the ground immediately in front of the ball without pressing anything down. Before the player grounds the club behind the ball, the ball moves. Has the player "addressed the ball" so that he is subject to penalty under Rule 18-2b?

A.Yes.

18-2b/6 (Reserved)

18-2b/7

Ball Moves After Player Addresses It and Then Steps Away

Q.A player addresses his ball. Realizing that the ball is precariously balanced and may move, he steps away from the ball and starts again. This time he does not address the ball, but before he strikes the ball, it moves. What is the ruling?

A.The player incurs a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2b and the ball must be replaced, unless it is known or virtually certain that something else (e.g., wind) caused the ball to move.

18-2b/8

Player Addresses Ball, Steps Away, Lifts Ball and Replaces It; Ball Then Moves

Q.On the putting green, a player addressed the ball. He stepped away from the ball, marked its position and lifted it. He then replaced the ball and, before he addressed it, the ball moved. Since the ball was lifted and out of play after it was addressed, was the player subject to penalty under Rule 18-2b when it moved after it was put back into play?

A.No. The ball must be played as it lies. Once the ball has been lifted the presumption inherent in the Rule that the act of addressing the ball caused the ball to move is no longer valid.

Related Decisions:

18-2b/11 Ball Moved By Another Agency After Address.

20-2a/4 Ball Dropped in Improper Manner Moves When Addressed; Player Then Lifts Ball and Drops It in Proper Manner.

23-1/12 After Ball Addressed on Putting Green Ball Moved in Removal of Loose Impediment.

18-2b/9

Ball Moves After Address and Comes to Rest Out of Bounds; Player Plays Ball

Q.A player's ball in play is lying on a slope. When he addresses the ball, it moves and comes to rest out of bounds. He then plays the ball from out of bounds. What is the ruling?

A.When the player's ball in play moved after he had addressed it, he was required to replace the ball, with a penalty stroke, under Rule 18-2b. However, by making a stroke at the ball lying out of bounds, the player has played a wrong ball (Decision 15/6).

In match play, the player loses the hole (Rule 15-3a).

In stroke play, the player incurs a penalty of two strokes under Rule 15-3b and must correct the error. He must place a ball on the spot where the original ball lay before it moved after address, incurring an additional penalty of one stroke as prescribed by Rule 18-2b, for a total penalty of three strokes. If he does not correct the error, he is disqualified.

18-2b/10

Ball Falls into Hole After Being Addressed

Q.A player's ball overhangs the lip of the hole. He addresses the ball and it falls into the hole. What is the ruling?

A.The ball is not holed. The player incurs a penalty stroke and the ball must be replaced. Although Rule 16-2 applies when a player's ball overhangs the lip of the hole, Rule 18-2b, which specifically applies when a player's ball moves after he has addressed it, overrides Rule 16-2 in this case.

If the player does not replace the ball and hole out, in stroke play he is disqualified under Rule 3-2.

Related Decisions:

1-2/4 Player Jumps Close to Hole to Cause Ball to Drop; Ball Moves.

2-4/2 Ball Falls into Hole After Concession of Next Stroke.

16-2/2 Ball Overhanging Hole Knocked Away by Opponent Before Player Determines Status.

18-2b/11

Ball Moved by Another Agency After Address

Q.After a player has addressed his ball in play, some other agency (e.g., a ball played by another player) moves the player's ball. Is the player subject to penalty under Rule 18-2b?

A.No. As it is known or virtually certain that the player did not cause the ball to move, Rule 18-2b does not apply – see Exception under Rule 18-2b. In such a case where an agency directly causes a ball to move, the Rule applicable to that agency (e.g., Rule 18-1, 18-2a, 18-3, 18-4 or 18-5) applies. (Revised)

Related Decisions:

18-2b/8 Player Addresses Ball, Steps Away, Lifts Ball and Replaces It; Ball Then Moves.

20-2a/4 Ball Dropped in Improper Manner Moves When Addressed; Player Then Lifts Ball and Drops It in Proper Manner.

23-1/12 After Ball Addressed on Putting Green Ball Moved in Removal of Loose Impediment.

18-2b/12

Ball Moves After Address and Is Stopped by Player's Club

Q.After a player addresses his ball, the ball moves backward. Before the player can remove his club, the ball is stopped by the clubhead. What is the ruling?

A.The player incurs a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2b and the ball must be replaced. A further penalty under Rule 19-2 (Ball in Motion Deflected or Stopped by Player) does not apply in these circumstances, as the act of his clubhead stopping the ball was related to the initial act of his ball moving after address – see Principle 4 of Decision 1-4/12.

If it is known or virtually certain that the player did not cause the ball to move, Rule 18-2b does not apply (see Exception to Rule 18-2b). In such circumstances, the player would incur a one-stroke penalty under Rule 19-2 for accidentally deflecting or stopping his ball in motion with his equipment, and must play the ball as it lies.

Related Decisions:

19-2/1 Ball Stopped by Player's Foot Moves When Foot Removed.

19-2/1.5 Ball Moves Prior to Address and Is Accidentally Stopped by Player's Club; Player Removes Club and Ball Rolls Away.

Other Decisions related to Rule 18-2b: See "Addressing the Ball: ball moves after being addressed" and "Ball At Rest Moved: after address" in the Index.

BALL MOVED BY OPPONENT OTHER THAN DURING SEARCH

18-3b/1

Player's Ball Moved Accidentally by Opponent in Playing His Own Ball

Q.In singles match play, A's ball is lying close to B's ball. It is B's turn to play. Although B has the right under Rule 22-2 to require A to mark the position of and lift his ball, he fails to do so. In making a stroke at his ball, B's club causes A's ball to move. What is the procedure?

A.B incurs a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-3b for having caused A's ball in play to move. A must replace his ball; if A's lie has been altered, Rule 20-3b applies.

This ruling differs from that in Decision 18-1/8, because it was reasonably foreseeable that B's stroke could cause A's ball to move and, through the exercise of reasonable care, B could have avoided causing A's ball to move by having A's ball lifted prior to his stroke. (Revised)

Related Decisions:

18-2a/21 Ball Moved Accidentally by Player in Playing Wrong Ball.

30-3f/9 Player's Ball Moved by Partner in Playing His Own Ball.

18-3b/2

Opponent's Stroke Disturbs Bushes Causing Player's Ball to Move

Q.In playing a stroke, an opponent disturbed some bushes, causing the player's ball to move. What is the ruling?

A.The answer depends on whether it was reasonably foreseeable that the stroke would cause the player's ball to move.

If it was reasonably foreseeable, the opponent incurs a penalty stroke (Rule 18-3b) as the opponent, through exercising reasonable care by having the player's ball lifted under Rule 22-2, could have avoided causing the player's ball to move. If it was not reasonably foreseeable, then the opponent incurs no penalty. In either case, the player must replace the ball.

Related Decisions:

18-1/8 Ball Moved by Stone Dislodged by Partner's or Opponent's Stroke.

18-2a/20.5 Player's Practice Swing Moves Loose Impediment Which Moves Ball.

19-2/9 Divot Taken After Stroke Strikes Ball in Motion.

18-3b/3

Ball Accidentally Stepped on and Moved by Opponent's Caddie

Q.The opponent's caddie accidentally stepped on the player's ball and moved it. What is the ruling?

A.The opponent incurs a one-stroke penalty (Rule 18-3b) unless the caddie was searching for the ball, in which case there would be no penalty (Rule 18-3a).

18-3b/4

Opponent's Caddie Lifts Player's Ball After Player Claims Another Ball

Q.In a match, the player finds a ball and claims it as his. The opponent's caddie then finds another ball and lifts it. It is subsequently discovered that the ball the opponent's caddie lifted was the player's ball. Should the opponent incur a penalty under Rule 18-3b?

A.No. Rule 18-3b does not contemplate an opponent or his caddie moving a player's ball in such circumstances. In equity (Rule 1-4), the ball must be replaced without penalty to anyone.

18-3b/5

Opponent's Caddie Lifts Player's Ball Which May or May Not Have Been Out of Bounds

Q.An opponent's caddie lifted the player's ball and informed the player that the ball was out of bounds. The player claimed that his ball might have been in bounds. What is the ruling?

A.If the Committee establishes that the ball was in bounds, the opponent incurs a penalty stroke under Rule 18-3b and the player must replace his ball.

If the ball was out of bounds, the opponent incurs no penalty.

If the position of the ball cannot be established, the benefit of the doubt should be given to the player.

Other Decisions related to Rule 18-3: See "Ball At Rest Moved: by opponent" in the Index.

BALL MOVED BY FELLOW-COMPETITOR

18-4/1 (Reserved)

18-4/2 (Reserved)

18-4/3

Fellow-Competitor Lifts Competitor's Ball Conceding Next Stroke in Stroke-Play Play-Off

Q.In a stroke-play play-off, B picks up A's ball, conceding A a 4. B then holed a putt for a 3 to win the play-off. Is B subject to penalty for conceding a putt in stroke play?

A.B incurs no penalty (Rule 18-4). If B had not holed in 3 to win the play-off, A would have been obliged to replace his ball and hole out (Rule 18-4).

Other Decisions related to Rule 18-4: See "Ball At Rest Moved: by fellow-competitor" in the Index.

BALL MOVED BY ANOTHER BALL

18-5/1 (Reserved)

18-5/2

Original Ball Struck by Provisional Ball

Q.A player's provisional ball played from the tee strikes and moves his original ball. What is the ruling?

A.There is no penalty. The original ball must be replaced (Rule 18-5).

Related Decisions:

3-3/7 Original Ball Strikes Second Ball or Vice Versa.

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

18-5/3

Competitor and Fellow-Competitor Unaware Ball Moved by Fellow-Competitor's Ball Until After Completion of Hole

Q.In stroke play, A then B play their second strokes to the green but, due to the contours of the green, they cannot see where their balls come to rest. Both competitors complete the hole from about 12 feet with two putts each. On their way to the next tee, it was established that A's ball had come to rest about one foot from the hole, but that B's ball in motion had struck A's ball and moved it. What is the ruling?

A.B proceeded correctly by playing his ball as it lay – Rule 19-5a.

As it was not known or virtually certain that A's ball had been moved by B's ball when A made his next stroke, he proceeded properly and incurred no penalty – see the Note to Rule 18-1.

Related Decisions:

15/10 Ball Thrown into Bounds by Outside Agency and Played; Neither Player Nor His Caddie Aware of Action of Outside Agency.

18-1/3 Player Unaware Ball Moved by Outside Agency Does Not Replace Ball.

19-2/6 Ball Deflected or Stopped by Player's Golf Cart Being Pulled by Opponent or Fellow-Competitor.

Other Decisions related to Rule 18-5: See "Ball At Rest Moved: by another ball" in the Index.

BALL MOVED IN MEASURING

18-6/1

Ball Moved in Measuring to Determine If Re-Drop Required

Q.A player drops his ball in accordance with the Rules. The ball rolls and the player is uncertain whether it has come to rest more than two club-lengths from where it first struck a part of the course. The player measures to determine whether he must re-drop under Rule 20-2c(vi) and in doing so accidentally causes the ball to move. What is the ruling if (a) the ball had rolled more than two club-lengths or (b) the ball had not rolled more than two club-lengths?

A.The player incurs no penalty for causing his ball to move in either case (see Rule 18-6). If the ball had rolled more than two club-lengths, it must be re-dropped. If the ball had not rolled more than two club-lengths, it must be replaced.

18-6/2

Ball Moved by Flagstick When Measuring

Q.In measuring with the flagstick to determine the order of play, the player accidentally moves his ball in play with the flagstick. What is the ruling?

A.The answer depends on whether the movement of the ball was directly attributable to the specific act of measuring – see Rule 18-6.

If the player was holding or touching the flagstick in the act of measuring when it touched and moved the ball, the movement of the ball was directly attributable to the specific act of measuring. There is no penalty and the ball must be replaced.

If the movement of the ball was not directly attributable to the specific act of measuring (e.g., the player dropped the flagstick on the ball), the player incurs a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a and the ball must be replaced.

Rules

Decisions

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