Rules FAQ


Rule 18-2

Player Addresses Ball, Backs Away; Ball Then Moves

Q.  A player addresses his ball. Realising 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. (Decision 18-2b/7)

Note: This FAQ has been updated to reflect the 2012 Rules of Golf.


Below you can view videos related to this Rule.

Video
Outside agency decided to wreak havoc with the ball
At the 1998 Players Championship, Steve Lowery's ball was at rest on the green when an outside agency decided to wreak havoc with the ball.
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Company in this bunker during the first round of the 2003 U.S. Senior Open
Bob Murphy’s ball had company in this bunker during the first round of the 2003 U.S. Senior Open… belonging to his fellow competitor, Hubert Green. Green’s ball struck and moved Murphy’s ball then came to rest on the spot where Murphy’s ball had originally been located.
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Approach shot strikes another player's ball already on the green
Watch what happens on this shot by Patty Sheehan at the 1989 U.S. Women's Open. Her approach shot strikes another player's ball already on the green.
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Approach shot came to rest in a tree left of the green
At the 2000 William's World Challenge, Bernhard Langer's approach shot came to rest in a tree left of the green. Langer declared his ball unplayable to protect himself from incurring a penalty for moving his ball into play during a search.
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Moved by another ball
Mhairi McKay’s approach shot during the third round of the 2003 US Women’s Open was “dead on”… but not exactly what she had hoped. McKay’s ball sailed into the bunker, colliding with the ball of Hillary Lunke, her fellow-competitor.
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