FOUR-BALL STROKE PLAY; GENERAL
Examples of Rulings in Four-Ball Stroke Play with Concurrent Individual Competition
When competitors are involved in concurrent stroke-play competitions, whenever possible the Rules are applied only to the competition affected. When it is not possible to separate the competitions, the four-ball competition takes precedence. The exception to that is with Rule 8-1 (Advice), as the two partners may not exchange advice if both are playing in the individual competition; if just one of them is playing in the individual competition, they may exchange advice.
A and B are partners in four-ball stroke play, and they are concurrently playing in an individual stroke-play competition. The following are examples of the application of the Rules in such a format:
(1) B moves A's ball without authority under the Rules. In the four-ball competition A incurs a penalty stroke (Rule 18-2a), but he incurs no penalty in the individual competition. B incurs no penalty in either competition.
(2) On the 3rd hole it is discovered that B started his round with 15 clubs. In the four-ball competition Side A-B incurs a total penalty of four strokes (two strokes on each of the first two holes), but A incurs no penalty in the individual competition. B incurs a total penalty of four strokes in the individual competition.
(3) During the round B makes a stroke at a non-conforming ball. In the four-ball competition Side A-B is disqualified (Rules 5-1 and 31-7a), but A incurs no penalty in the individual competition. B is disqualified from the individual competition.
Other Decisions related to Rule 31: See "Four-Ball Stroke Play" in the Index.
FOUR-BALL STROKE PLAY: REPRESENTATION OF SIDE
Absent Player Joins Partner After Fellow-Competitor Plays from Teeing Ground But Before Partner Plays
Q.In four-ball stroke play, A and B are playing with C and D. They have been given a starting time of 9:00 am. D arrives at 9:01 am after A has played but before B and C have played. May D play the first hole?
A.D was late for his starting time and as such, D may play the first hole, adding the penalty of two strokes prescribed by Rule 6-3a to his score for that hole. Rule 31-2 allows an absent player to join his partner before his partner has commenced play of a hole. As C had not yet played from the teeing ground, D may join him.
If D did not arrive until later in the round, he would be able to join his partner between holes without penalty, provided C had not yet played from the next tee, regardless of whether A and/or B had played.
FOUR-BALL STROKE PLAY: SCORING
Gross Score of Partner with Better Net Score Omitted from Score Card
Q.In four-ball stroke play on a handicap basis, partners A and B both holed out in 4 at the 8th hole; partner A did not receive a handicap stroke at the hole, but partner B did. The marker, who was a fellow-competitor, recorded a gross score of 4 for A, who did not receive a stroke, and no gross score for B. However, the marker also recorded a net 3 in the better-ball column.
On completion of the round, the score card, in all other respects correct, was signed and returned to the Committee. Both the marker and the partners were interviewed, and it was established that in fact both partners had gross scores of 4 at the 8th hole. What is the ruling?
A.Under Rules 6-6b and 31-3, it was the responsibility of one of the partners to check the side's better-ball gross score for each hole before signing the score card.
When checking the score card, the partner concerned should have noticed that there was no gross score recorded for B at the 8th hole and should have corrected this mistake. As he did not do so, A's gross 4 was the side's score for the hole. It is the responsibility of the Committee – and not the competitor – to record the better-ball net score for each hole.
• 6-6d/1 No Score Entered for One Hole But Total Correct.
FOUR-BALL STROKE PLAY: ORDER OF PLAY
Player Waives Turn to Play; Circumstances Under Which He May Complete Hole
Q.A and B are partners in four-ball stroke play. A's tee shot at a par-3 entirely over water comes to rest in the water hazard. As B's tee shot comes to rest on the putting green, A elects not to play a ball under Rule 26-1 and proceeds to the green. B four putts and scores 5 for the hole. May A return to the tee and put another ball into play under Rule 26-1?
A.Yes. However, he may be subject to penalty under Rule 6-7 for unduly delaying play.
• 30-3b/2 Waiving Turn to Putt in Four-Ball Match.
Extent to Which Side May Play in Order It Considers Best
Rule 31-4, which is an exception to Rule 10-2 (Order of Play), permits a side to play in the order it considers best. Generally, a side will exercise its right under Rule 31-4 for strategic reasons. However, in doing so, the side must not unduly delay play (Rule 6-7).
The following are examples of a side (competitors A and B) playing in an order other than that set forth in Rule 10-2b and whether a penalty under Rule 6-7 would be appropriate:
(a) A's ball is on the putting green five feet from the hole and he plays before B, whose ball is on the putting green 20 feet from the hole – no penalty.
(b) A's ball is in an awkward lie in a hazard 30 yards from the hole and he plays before B, whose ball is in the fairway 50 yards from the hole – no penalty.
(c) A's ball is 220 yards from the hole on a par-5 hole and he plays his second stroke before B, whose ball is 240 yards from the hole, plays – no penalty.
(d) In situation (c) above, A's ball comes to rest 30 yards from the green. The side then elects to have A play his third stroke before B plays his second stroke – B is penalized two strokes for a breach of Rule 6-7.
FOUR-BALL STROKE PLAY: PENALTY TO SIDE
Decisions Related to Rule 31-6:
• 4-4a/10 Breach of 14-Club Rule in Stroke Play Discovered at 8th Hole; Where Penalty Strokes Applied.
• 30-3/2 Effect of State of Match Penalties in Four-Ball Play.
FOUR-BALL STROKE PLAY: DISQUALIFICATION PENALTIES
Competitor Records Score for Hole Not Completed
Q.A and B are partners in four-ball stroke play. At the 10th hole, A picks up and B holes out in 5 strokes. The marker records a score of 6 for A and a score of 5 for B. The card is returned with these scores recorded. Is any penalty incurred because A-B returned a card containing a score for A at a hole which A did not complete?
A.No. Rule 31-7a provides that disqualification of a side under Rule 6-6d applies only when the recorded score of the partner whose score is to count is lower than actually taken. The score recorded for A was not A-B's lower score for the 10th hole. Accordingly, no penalty is applicable.
• 32-2a/1 Four-Ball Stableford Competition on Handicap Basis; Side's Scores Transposed at a Hole But Not to Side's Advantage.
Lower Gross Score Attributed to Wrong Partner
Q.A and B were partners in four-ball stroke play. At the 11th hole, A picked up and B holed out in 4 strokes. The marker inadvertently recorded a score of 4 for A.The card was returned. What is the ruling?
A.It was A's recorded score of 4 which was the side's gross score to count. As this was lower than the score actually taken by A, the side is disqualified under Rule 31-7a.
• 32-2a/2 Four-Ball Stableford Competition on Handicap Basis; Side's Scores Transposed at a Hole to Side's Advantage.
FOUR-BALL STROKE PLAY: EFFECT OF PENALTY ON PARTNER
Competitor Lifts Loose Impediment in Bunker When His Ball and Partner's Ball Are in Bunker
Q.A and B are partners in a four-ball stroke-play competition. A's ball and B's ball are in the same bunker. A lifts a loose impediment lying in the bunker. A is penalized two strokes for a breach of Rule 13-4. Does B incur a penalty?
A.If A's infringement assisted B's play, B also is penalized two strokes (Rule 31-8). Otherwise, B incurs no penalty.
• 13-4/17 Loose Impediment Removed from Water Hazard; Player Then Decides Not to Play from Hazard.
• 30-3f/1 Player Lifts Loose Impediment in Bunker When His Ball and Partner's Ball in Bunker.