CLAIMS AND PENALTIES IN MATCH PLAY
Player Who Has Reached Third Round of Match Play Disqualified for Agreeing to Waive Rules in First-Round Match
Q.Rule 34-1a provides that there is no time limit on applying the disqualification penalty under Rule 1-3 for agreeing to waive a Rule. If A, who agreed with his opponent to waive a Rule in a first-round match, has advanced to the third round before the Committee becomes aware of the breach of Rule 1-3, what should the Committee do?
A.As A is disqualified, the Committee must rule in accordance with equity (Rule 1-4). For guidelines, see Decision 34-1b/8.
CLAIMS AND PENALTIES IN STROKE PLAY
Omission of Penalty Stroke When Score Returned
Q.In stroke play, a competitor returned an incorrect score for a hole due to failure to include a penalty stroke. After the competition closed the error was discovered. Does Rule 34-1b allow imposition of a disqualification penalty for a breach of Rule 6-6d?
A.As stated in Rule 34-1b, the Committee should impose a penalty of disqualification if the competitor knew, before the competition closed, that he had incurred the penalty but intentionally or unintentionally failed to add the penalty to his score, but not if the competitor did not know he had incurred the penalty.
• 34-3/1 Correction of Incorrect Ruling in Stroke Play.
Competitor Correctly Advised by Fellow-Competitor That He Incurred a Penalty Disagrees with Fellow-Competitor and Fails to Include Penalty in His Score; Committee Advised of Incident After Competition Had Closed
Q.In stroke play, A, in ignorance of the Rules and with the concurrence of B, his marker, removed a stone from a water hazard when his ball lay in the hazard. Subsequently, A was advised by C, a fellow-competitor, that he (A) was in breach of Rule 13-4. A disagreed, failed to settle the doubtful point with the Committee at the end of the round and returned his score card without including a two-stroke penalty for a breach of Rule 13-4.
After the competition had closed, C advised the Committee of the incident. Should A be disqualified?
A.Yes. Rule 34-1b says in effect that a competitor must be disqualified after the competition has closed if he had returned a score, failing to include a penalty which, before the competition closed, he knew he had incurred. As C pointed out to A that he had proceeded incorrectly and A took no action to check whether he had incurred a penalty before returning his card, A is deemed to have known that he had incurred a penalty. (Revised)
Competitor's Failure to Sign Score Card Discovered After Competition Closed
Q.Shortly after a stroke-play competition had closed, it was discovered that the score card of the winner had not been signed by him. Should the Committee take any action?
A.The Committee must decide whether the competitor knew, before the competition closed, that he was in breach of the Rules by failing to sign his score card (Rule 6-6b). If he knew, he is disqualified, as provided in Exception (iv) to Rule 34-1b. Otherwise, no penalty may be imposed and the result of the competition must stand. (Revised)
• 6-6b/3 Competitor Fails to Sign First-Round Card; Error Discovered on Completion of Last Round.
• 33-7/3 Competitor's Failure to Countersign Card Blamed on Lack of Time Provided by Committee.
Play of Wrong Ball in Stroke Play Not Rectified; Error Discovered After Competition Closed
Q.In stroke play, A played a wrong ball at the 5th hole but he did not realize it until he had holed out at that hole. Before teeing off at the 6th hole, A and B, who was A's marker, concluded that A had incurred a two-stroke penalty. Accordingly, B added two penalty strokes to A's score for the 5th hole and A and B teed off at the 6th hole without A having rectified his mistake as required under Rule 15-3b. A was not aware that he should have rectified the error.
Before returning his card, A advised the Committee of the incident. The Committee confirmed that the penalty was two strokes but did not ask A whether the error had been rectified.
A won the competition. Several days later the runner-up claimed that A should be disqualified under Rule 15-3b. What is the ruling?
A.The competition stands as played, with A the winner. Under Rule 34-1b, a penalty of disqualification may not be imposed after a competition is closed if the competitor did not know he had incurred the penalty.
Competitor Changes Weight of Club During Round; Breach Discovered After Competition Closed
Q.It was reported a few days after the conclusion of a stroke-play competition that the winner had changed the weight of his putter during a stipulated round. Should he be penalized?
A.The Committee must determine whether the competitor knew, between the time of the breach and the close of the competition, that he had incurred a penalty under the Rules for changing the weight of his putter during the stipulated round (Rule 4-2). If he knew he had incurred a penalty under the Rules, he is disqualified, as provided in Exception (iv) to Rule 34-1b. Otherwise, no penalty may be imposed. (Revised)
Disqualification Penalty Wrongly Applied to Winner of Event; Error Discovered After Two Other Competitors Play Off for First Place
Q.In the final round of a stroke-play competition, the Committee disqualified A for recording on his score card a total score which was one stroke less than his actual score. A's hole-by-hole scores were correct. The Committee was in error. A would have won the event if he had not been disqualified.
As a result of A's disqualification, B and C play off for first place and B wins the play-off. Before the result of the competition is announced, the Committee discovers that A should not have been penalized.
Must the Committee rectify its error?
A.Yes. As the competition had not closed, the penalty applied to A must be rescinded and A declared the winner – see Rule 34-1b. (Revised)
Winner's Score Not Posted Due to Committee Error
Q.In a stroke-play event, the winner's prize is awarded to B. The next day A advises the Committee that he had returned a lower score than B. A check reveals that A is correct and that, in error, the Committee had failed to post A's score. What should be done?
A.Rule 34-1b does not apply to Committee errors of this kind. The prize should be retrieved from B and given to A, the rightful winner.
• 6-2b/3 Competitor Wins Competition with Handicap Which Was Incorrect Due to Committee Error; Error Discovered Several Days Later.
• 33-5/2 Wrong Handicap Applied by Committee Results in Player Not Receiving Prize.
Wrong Score in Qualifying Round Discovered During Match Play
Q.On completion of the stroke-play qualifying round for a match-play competition, a player unintentionally failed to include in his score for a hole a penalty he knew he had incurred. After the player had advanced in the match-play phase, the error was discovered. What should be done?
A.The player should be disqualified. Under Rule 34-1b, the penalty for a breach of Rule 6-6d was applicable after the qualifying competition was closed.
Player Who Has Advanced in Match Play Is Disqualified for Wrong Score in Qualifying Round
Q.The Committee discovers that by mistake A, who has advanced to the fourth round of a match-play competition, returned a score lower than actually taken in the qualifying round. A was disqualified. What is the proper procedure with regard to the players beaten by A?
A.The Committee must determine further procedure in equity (Rule 1-4). The choices are:
(a) cancel the competition;
(b) consider the disqualification penalty applicable only from the time of its discovery, thus giving A's next opponent a default;
(c) reinstate the player last eliminated by A; or
(d) require all players eliminated by A to play off for his position.
Breach of Anti-Doping Condition Discovered After Competition Closed
Q.In stroke play, a Committee discovers after a competition has closed that a player was in breach of that competition's anti-doping condition, which carries a penalty of disqualification. If the player claims no prior knowledge of the breach, how should Rule 34-1b(iv) be interpreted?
A.Anti-doping conditions adopt a policy whereby a player is held to be responsible for a breach of the condition regardless of how this may have happened. Therefore, from a Rules of Golf perspective, a player who commits a breach of such an anti-doping condition is deemed to have known he was in breach of a Rule, for which the penalty is disqualification. Accordingly, Exception (iv) to Rule 34-1b applies and the player must be disqualified.
Referee's Authority to Declare Ground Under Repair
Q.Does the referee of a match have authority to declare an area ground under repair during the match?
• 33-2a/2 Declaring Area as Ground Under Repair During Competition Round.
Referee Authorizes Player to Infringe a Rule
Q.In error, a referee authorized a player to infringe a Rule of Golf. Is the player absolved from penalty in such a case?
A.Yes. Under Rule 34-2, a referee's decision is final, whether or not the decision is correct.
Referee Warning Player About to Breach Rule
Q.If the referee observes a player about to breach a Rule, may he warn the player and thus prevent a breach?
A.Yes. While a referee is not obliged to warn a player who is about to breach a Rule, it is generally recommended that a referee should do so. If he volunteers information about the Rules, he should do so uniformly to all players.
However, in match play where the referee has not been assigned to accompany the players throughout the match, the referee has no authority to intervene and, therefore, must not warn the player – see Definition of "Referee." (Revised)
Disagreement with Referee's Decision
Q.In match play, if a player disagrees with a referee's decision, may the player demand that the matter be considered by the Committee?
A.No. A referee's decision may be referred to the Committee only if the referee consents.
Referee Reverses Ruling Made at Last Hole of Match After Players Leave Putting Green
Q.In a match, A and B are all square playing the last hole. An incident occurs on the putting green and the referee rules incorrectly that A loses the last hole and the match, whereas he should have ruled that B lost the last hole and the match. A and B walk off the putting green without disputing the ruling. Subsequently, but before the result of the match is officially announced, the referee learns of his error, reverses his ruling and decides that B lost the last hole and the match. Did the referee act properly in reversing his ruling?
A.Yes. As the result of the match had not been officially announced and neither player had made any further strokes, the referee was correct in reversing his ruling (see also Decisions 2-5/14, 34-2/6, 34-3/3 and 34-3/3.3).
Referee Reverses Ruling After Player Subsequently Plays a Ball
Q.In a match, an incident occurs on the putting green of the 17th hole and the referee rules incorrectly that A loses the hole. A and B walk off the putting green without disputing the ruling. After the players play from the next tee, the referee learns of his error, reverses the ruling and rules that B lost the 17th hole. Did the referee act properly in reversing the ruling?
A.No. If, after a referee has given a ruling, either player makes a stroke on the hole or, in circumstances where no more strokes are made on the hole, either player makes a stroke from the next teeing ground, the referee may not reverse his ruling. In the case of the last hole of the match, see Decision 34-2/5.
If the referee becomes aware of his error prior to a player making a stroke or, in circumstances where no more strokes are made on the hole, either player making a stroke from the next teeing ground, in equity (Rule 1-4), the referee must correct the error. Although Rule 34-2 states that the referee's decision is final, it is final only in the sense that the player has no right to appeal unless the referee consents.
Correction of Incorrect Ruling by Referee in Match Play
Q.In singles match play, the players obtain a ruling from the referee, and the referee incorrectly advises one of the players that he has incurred a loss of hole penalty. Both players lift their balls and walk to the next tee. The referee then learns of the incorrect ruling. Should the referee correct the error?
A.If neither player has made a stroke from the next teeing ground or, in the case of the last hole of the match, if the result of the match has not been officially announced, in equity (Rule 1-4), the referee must correct the error. The referee must direct the players to replace their balls and complete the hole, with the correct ruling applied. Otherwise, it is too late to correct the error and the loss of hole penalty must stand.
Correction of Incorrect Ruling in Stroke Play
Q.During the first round of a 36-hole stroke-play competition, a competitor plays a wrong ball from a bunker at the 6th hole and the ball comes to rest on the green. He then realizes that he has played a wrong ball and corrects his mistake. The competitor reports the facts to the Committee before returning his card and is incorrectly advised that he has incurred no penalty since the wrong ball was played from a hazard.
During the second round the Committee realizes that it made a mistake and retrospectively adds to the competitor's first-round score two penalty strokes at the 6th hole, but does not disqualify the competitor under Rule 6-6d.
The competitor objects on the ground that the Committee reached a decision on the matter the previous day and that, as Rule 34-3 states that the Committee's decision is final, it cannot now impose a penalty.
Was the Committee's procedure correct?
A.Yes. Under Rule 34-3, a Committee's decision is final in that the competitor has no right to appeal. However, Rule 34-3 does not prevent a Committee from correcting an incorrect ruling and imposing or rescinding a penalty provided that no penalty is imposed or rescinded after the competition is closed, except in the circumstances set forth in Rule 34-1b.
• 34-1b/1 Omission of Penalty Stroke When Score Returned.
Competitor Incorrectly Advised to Cancel Stroke
Q.In stroke play, a competitor's second stroke on a hole strikes the equipment of a player in another group. The competitor consults a referee before making his next stroke, and the referee incorrectly advises him that he must cancel and replay the stroke without penalty, which he does. Having replayed the stroke, the competitor then takes two more strokes to hole out. The competitor plays from the next tee and, prior to returning his score card, the referee's error comes to light. What is the ruling?
A.The referee's decision to require the competitor to cancel and replay the stroke stands. In such circumstances, the competitor's score for the hole concerned would be 4.
• 33-7/5 Play of Wrong Ball Not Rectified on Advice of Committee Member
• 34-3/3 Player in Match Makes Stroke From Wrong Place Due to Incorrect Ruling; Procedure for Player When Error is Discovered
• 34-3/3.3 Competitor in Stroke Play Makes Stroke From Wrong Place Due to Incorrect Ruling; Procedure for Competitior When Error is Discovered
Committee Error and Scoring in Stroke Play
A player is responsible for knowing the Rules (Rule 6-1), but there may be situations, immediately before and during a stipulated round, when an official representative of the Committee provides the player with incorrect information on the Rules. The player is entitled to act on such information in his subsequent play. Consequently, the Committee may be required to make a judgment as to both the duration of the player's entitlement and his proper score when, as a result of proceeding according to the incorrect information provided by the official, he is liable to a penalty under the Rules.
In these situations, the Committee should resolve the matter in whatever manner it considers most equitable, in light of all the facts and with the objective of ensuring that no player receives an undue advantage or disadvantage. In cases where the incorrect information significantly affects the results of the competition, the Committee may have no option but to cancel the round. The following principles, in equity (Rule 1-4), are applicable:
1. General Guidance on the Rules
When a member of the Committee or a referee provides incorrect information in the nature of general guidance about the Rules, the player should not be exempt from penalty.
2. Specific Ruling
When a referee makes a specific ruling that is contrary to the Rules in a specific situation, the player should be exempt from penalty. The Committee has the authority to extend this exemption for the duration of the round in circumstances where the player proceeds incorrectly on his own in exactly the same manner as advised by a referee earlier in the round. However, that exemption would cease if, in that round, the player becomes aware of the proper procedure or has his actions questioned.
3. Guidance on Local Rules or Conditions of Competition
When a member of the Committee or a referee gives incorrect information on whether a Local Rule or condition of the competition is in effect, the player should be exempt from penalty for acting on that information. This exemption should be for the duration of the round unless corrected earlier, in which case, the exemption should cease at that point.
4. Equipment Ruling
When a member of the Committee or a referee rules that a non-conforming club is conforming, the player should be exempt from penalty for carrying or using the club. This exemption should be for the duration of the competition unless corrected earlier, in which case, the exemption should cease at the completion of the round during which the correction was made.
Committee Does Not Penalize Player in Breach of Pace of Play Condition Believing Player Had Already Lost Hole
Q.In a match between A and B, a pace of play condition was in effect. During play of the 10th hole, B was observed by a referee to breach the pace of play condition. The referee did not advise either player of the loss of hole penalty because he mistakenly believed that A had won the hole. During play of the 14th hole, another referee began to monitor the match's pace of play and informed B that he had previously breached the pace of play condition on the 10th hole. The referee also indicated that neither player was advised of the breach and the resulting loss of hole penalty because it was thought that A had already won the hole. The players indicated that A did not win the 10th hole and that the hole was halved. What is the ruling?
A.The result of the 10th hole stands as played. The first referee erred in failing to impose the loss of hole penalty for B's breach of the pace of play condition and it may not be imposed after either player has played from the 11th tee. A was not given wrong information by B and could not therefore make a later claim when the referee's error came to his attention (Rule 2-5).
Player in Match Makes Stroke from Wrong Place Due to Incorrect Ruling; Procedure for Player When Error is Discovered
Q.In a match, a player obtains a ruling from a referee and proceeds on the basis of that ruling, which involves dropping a ball and playing from a wrong place. The Committee then learns of the incorrect ruling by the referee. Should the Committee require the player to disregard the stroke or strokes made after the incorrect ruling and proceed correctly?
A.Unless a serious breach is involved or the player has been seriously disadvantaged due to his playing from a wrong place, the ruling may not be reversed or corrected once the player has made the stroke from the wrong place.
If a serious breach is involved or the player has been seriously disadvantaged due to playing from a wrong place, in equity (Rule 1-4), the error must be corrected by the Committee up to the point where an opponent makes his next stroke on the hole concerned. If an opponent does not make a stroke on the hole after the ruling was given, the incorrect ruling may be corrected before either player makes a stroke from the next teeing ground or, in the case of the last hole of the match, before the result of the match is officially announced. Therefore, even if, for example, the player has conceded the opponent's next stroke and the opponent has lifted his ball, the Committee should direct the player to proceed correctly and the opponent to replace his ball, without penalty. If it is too late to correct the error, the strokes made after the incorrect ruling must stand with no penalty.
Competitor in Stroke Play Makes Stroke from Wrong Place Due to Incorrect Ruling; Procedure for Competitor When Error is Discovered
Q.In stroke play, a competitor obtains a ruling from a referee and proceeds on the basis of that ruling, which involves dropping a ball and playing from a wrong place. The Committee then learns of the incorrect ruling by the referee. Should the Committee require the competitor to disregard the stroke or strokes made after the incorrect ruling and proceed correctly?
A.Unless a serious breach is involved or the competitor has been seriously disadvantaged due to his playing from a wrong place, the strokes made after the incorrect ruling must stand with no penalty.
If a serious breach is involved or the competitor has been seriously disadvantaged due to his playing from a wrong place, and the competitor has not played from the next teeing ground or, in the case of the last hole of the round, has not left the putting green, in equity (Rule 1-4), the Committee must correct the error. The Committee must direct the competitor to cancel the stroke made from the wrong place and any subsequent strokes and proceed correctly. The competitor incurs no penalty for playing from a wrong place. If it is too late to correct the error, the strokes made after the incorrect ruling must stand with no penalty.
• 33-7/5 Play of Wrong Ball Not Rectified on Advice of Committee Member.
• 34-3/1.3 Competitor Incorrectly Advised to Cancel Stroke.
Player Lifts Ball Without Authority Due to Misunderstanding Referee's Instructions
Q.A player's ball comes to rest against a movable obstruction and he seeks relief. A referee correctly advises him that he may remove the obstruction under Rule 24-1 and that he should mark the position of the ball in case it moves during the removal of the obstruction. The player marks the position of the ball and lifts it before the referee can stop him. The player was under the misapprehension that, having been requested to mark the position of the ball, he was entitled to lift it before the obstruction was removed. Should the player be penalized under Rule 18-2a in these circumstances?
A.No. Provided the referee is satisfied that the player misunderstood the instruction, the ball should be replaced without penalty.
• 18-2a/13 Ball Lifted Without Authority and Cleaned.
Player Incorrectly Advised to Continue with Provisional Ball
Q.In stroke play, a competitor's tee shot is struck towards an area of trees, bushes and tall grass. Believing his ball might be lost outside a water hazard, the player announces his intention to play a provisional ball and plays a ball from the tee. When he arrives at the area, he finds that his ball is in a lateral water hazard. A referee incorrectly tells the competitor that a provisional ball is not allowed in such circumstances and, therefore, the second ball has become the ball in play under penalty of stroke and distance. The competitor continues with the second ball, taking three additional strokes to finish the hole, and plays from the next tee. The Committee then learns of this incorrect ruling. What score should it assign to the player for the hole?
A.As the competitor played the second ball from the tee in the belief that his original ball might have been lost outside a water hazard, that ball was a provisional ball, and the competitor should have abandoned it and continued with the original ball (Rule 27-2c).
By directing the competitor to continue with the provisional ball, the referee had the player play a wrong ball. However, the competitor incurs no penalty under Rule 15-3b for playing a wrong ball as he did so at the instruction of a referee.
The Committee should determine that the competitor's score for the hole is 4: his tee shot with the original ball plus the three strokes made with the wrong ball after the incorrect ruling. However, if it would have been clearly unreasonable for the competitor to play the original ball as it lay in the water hazard, he must, in equity (Rule 1-4), add one penalty stroke under Rule 26-1 to his score.
Committee Makes Incorrect Ruling Under Rule 3-3; Whether Ruling May Be Corrected
Q.In stroke play, a competitor plays two balls (X and Y) under Rule 3-3. When he reports the facts to the Committee before returning his score card, the Committee determines that he must score with Ball Y. Subsequently, the Committee realizes it made an incorrect ruling and that the score with Ball X should have been the competitor's score for the hole. May the Committee correct this mistake?
A.Such a mistake is an incorrect ruling and not an administrative error. Therefore Rule 34 applies and the answer depends on when the Committee learns of its incorrect ruling.
If the Committee learns of the incorrect ruling before the competition closes, it should correct the ruling without penalty to the competitor by changing his score for the hole in question to that with Ball X (Decision 34-3/1).
If the Committee learns of the incorrect ruling after the competition has closed, the score with Ball Y must remain the competitor's score for the hole in question. Under Rule 34-3, such a ruling is final once the competition has closed.
Dispute as to Whether Competitor Played from Outside Teeing Ground
Q.In stroke play, B, A's fellow-competitor and marker, claimed at the completion of the round that A had played from outside the teeing ground at the 15th hole. A stated that he had played from within the teeing ground.
The Committee ruled that the claim was invalid because it was not made at the 15th tee and because A disputed the claim. Was the ruling correct?
A.It is a question of fact whether A played from outside the teeing ground. The matter should be resolved on the basis of the weight of evidence. The timing of a claim is not necessarily a factor.
In this case, it was B's word against A's and the weight of evidence did not favor either competitor. In such a case, the benefit of the doubt should be given to A, the player of the stroke.
• 6-6a/4 Marker Refuses to Sign Competitor's Card After Dispute Resolved in Favor of Competitor.
• 6-6d/5 Spectators Allege Competitor's Score Incorrect.
True State of Match Not Determinable
Q.On completion of a match, A claims he is 1 up and B claims the match is all square. The matter is referred to the Committee. The Committee gathers all available evidence and is unable to determine the true state of the match. What should the Committee do?
A.It should resolve the matter in the fairest way. An equitable solution would be to order that the match be replayed.
Player Proceeds Under an Inapplicable Rule; Committee's Decision
When a player proceeds under a Rule that does not apply to his situation and then makes a stroke, the Committee must determine the Rule to apply in order to give a ruling based on the player's actions.
For examples of appropriate Committee decisions in such cases, see Decisions 18-2a/3, 20-7/2, 25-1b/13 and 25-1c/2 and the explanations below:
In Decision 18-2a/3, the player has proceeded under an inapplicable Rule (Rule 24-2). As Rule 28 (Ball Unplayable) requires the player to have the intention to proceed under it before lifting the ball, the Committee may not apply Rule 28 to the player's actions. As there was no Rule that allowed the player to lift his ball in such a situation, the Committee determined that Rule 18-2a must apply.
In Decision 20-7/2, the player deemed his ball unplayable in a water hazard, dropped it according to the procedure of option b or c of Rule 28 and played it from the water hazard. As Rule 26-1 was the only Rule that allowed the player to lift his ball for relief in that situation, the Committee determined that Rule 26 applied and ruled accordingly. As a result, the player was considered to have played from a wrong place (i.e., a place not permitted by Rule 26-1).
In Decision 25-1b/13, the player's ball lay in casual water that he mistook for a water hazard. He dropped and played a ball according to the procedure of option b under Rule 26-1. As Rule 25-1 was the only Rule that allowed the player to lift his ball for relief in that situation, the Committee determined that Rule 25 applied and ruled accordingly. As a result, the player was considered to have played from a wrong place (i.e., a place not permitted by Rule 25-1) and to have wrongly substituted a ball in breach of Rule 25-1 (see Rule 15-2).
In Decision 25-1c/2, the player did not know the location of his original ball but assumed, without knowledge or virtual certainty, that it was in ground under repair. He dropped and played another ball under Rule 25-1c. As the player did not know the location of his original ball, in these circumstances, Rule 27-1 was the only Rule that the player could have proceeded under. Therefore, the Committee determined that Rule 27-1 applied and ruled accordingly. As a result, the player was considered to have put a ball into play under penalty of stroke and distance and to have played from a wrong place (i.e., a place not permitted by Rule 27-1).
Player Proceeds on Basis of Ruling; Subsequent Facts Prove Ruling to Be Incorrect
Q.A player believes his ball in play may have moved after he addressed it and asks for a ruling from a referee. Based on the evidence available at the time, the referee determines that the ball did not move and instructs the player to play the ball as it lies without penalty. After the player plays, the referee becomes aware of evidence that indicates that the ball had in fact moved. What is the ruling?
A.As the ball moved after the player had addressed it, he was required to replace the ball with a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2b. When he failed to do so, he played from a wrong place. As he did so at the instruction of a referee, he does not incur the general penalty under Rule 18 for playing from a wrong place. However, he does incur the penalty stroke under Rule 18-2b as the ball had moved after address before the ruling from the referee. The player must continue with the ball played from the wrong place.
Player Proceeds on Basis of Ruling; Player's Version of Facts Subsequently Found to Be Incorrect
Q.A player's ball in play moves, and the player asks for a ruling from a referee. When asked, the player informs the referee that he had not addressed the ball. As the player had done nothing else to cause the ball to move, the referee instructs the player to play the ball from its new location without penalty. After the player plays, the referee becomes aware that the player had in fact addressed the ball. What is the ruling?
A.As the ball moved after the player had addressed it, he was required to replace the ball with a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2b. When he failed to do so, he played from a wrong place and loses the hole in match play or incurs a penalty of two strokes in stroke play under Rule 18.
The player must continue with the ball played from the wrong place except that, in stroke play, if a serious breach is involved and the player has not yet played from the next teeing ground or, in the case of the last hole of the round, before the player leaves the putting green, the referee must require the player to cancel the stroke made with the ball from the wrong place and any subsequent strokes and play from the original location of the ball.
The imposition of the general penalty in this situation is different from the ruling in Decision 34-3/7 in that, in this case, the player provided the incorrect information that led to the incorrect ruling. The player is responsible for providing the correct facts to the referee and is subject to penalty under the applicable Rule if his incorrect version of the facts led to his playing from a wrong place.
Resolution of Questions of Fact; Referee and Committee Responsibility
Resolving questions of fact is among the most difficult actions required of a referee, or the Committee as a whole. For example, these situations include a broad array of incidents such as determining whether a player caused a ball to move (Decisions 18/10, 18-2a/30 and 18-2a/30.5), whether a player played from outside the teeing ground (Decision 34-3/4), whether a stroke was made (Decision 14/1.5), the hole at which a wrong ball was played (Decision 15-1/3) and the state of a match (Decision 34-3/5).
In all situations involving questions of fact, resolution of the doubt must be made in light of all the relevant circumstances and evaluation of the weight of the evidence, including the balance of probabilities where applicable (Decision 15-1/3). When the Committee is unable to determine the facts to its satisfaction, it must resolve the matter in the fairest way (Decision 34-3/5).
Testimony of the players involved is important and must be given due consideration. In some situations where the facts are not decisive, the doubt should be resolved in favor of the player (Decisions 15-1/2 and 19-1/4.1); in others, the doubt should be resolved against the player (Decision 13-4/35.5 and 21/3). There is no hard-and-fast rule for evaluating the testimony of the players or for assigning the weight to be given to such testimony and each situation must be treated on its own merits. The proper action depends on the circumstances in each case and must be left to the judgment of the referee, or the Committee as a whole.
Testimony of those who are not a part of the competition, including spectators, must be accepted and evaluated (Decision 27/12). It is also appropriate to use television footage and the like to assist in resolving doubt.
It is important that any questions of fact be resolved in a timely manner such that the competition may proceed in an orderly way. Thus, the referee may be limited to evaluating the evidence available to him in a timely manner. Any such ruling is always subject to further review by the referee, or Committee as a whole as additional evidence becomes available.
If a judgment is made by a referee, the player is entitled to proceed on the basis of that ruling whether it is an interpretation of the Rules of Golf (Decision 34-3/1.5) or a resolution of a question of fact (Decision 34-3/7). In situations arising in both circumstances, if the ruling is found to be incorrect, the Committee may have the authority to make a correction (Decisions 34-3/1 and 34-3/7). However, in all circumstances, including both match play and stroke play, the referee or Committee is limited in its ability to make corrections by the guidance contained in Decisions 34-2/5, 34-2/6, 34-2/7, 34-3/3 and 34-3/3.3.
The term "course record" is not defined in the Rules of Golf. However, it is generally accepted that a record score should be recognized as the official "course record" only if made in an individual stroke-play competition (excluding bogey, par or Stableford competitions) with the holes and tee-markers in their proper medal or championship positions.
It is recommended that a record score should not be recognized as the official "course record" if a Local Rule permitting preferred lies is in operation.
Whether Rakes Should Be Placed in or Outside Bunkers
Q.Should rakes be placed in or outside bunkers?
A.There is not a perfect answer for the position of rakes, but on balance it is felt there is less likelihood of an advantage or disadvantage to the player if rakes are placed outside bunkers.
It may be argued that there is more likelihood of a ball being deflected into or kept out of a bunker if the rake is placed outside the bunker. It could also be argued that if the rake is in the bunker it is most unlikely that the ball will be deflected out of the bunker.
However, in practice, players who leave rakes in bunkers frequently leave them at the side which tends to stop a ball rolling into the flat part of the bunker, resulting in a much more difficult shot than would otherwise have been the case. This is most prevalent at a course where the bunkers are small. When the ball comes to rest on or against a rake in the bunker and the player must proceed under Rule 24-1, it may not be possible to replace the ball on the same spot or find a spot in the bunker which is not nearer the hole – see Decision 20-3d/2.
If rakes are left in the middle of the bunker the only way to position them is to throw them into the bunker and this causes damage to the surface. Also, if a rake is in the middle of a large bunker it is either not used or the player is obliged to rake a large area of the bunker resulting in unnecessary delay.
Therefore, after considering all these aspects, it is recommended that rakes should be left outside bunkers in areas where they are least likely to affect the movement of the ball.
Ultimately, it is a matter for the Committee to decide where it wishes rakes to be placed.