OUR EXPERTS EXPLAIN
Louis' Memorable Ace April 14, 2016 By Jamie Wallace, USGA

Anyone who watched the final round of the Masters was treated to an exciting day of birdies and bogeys, ups and downs, and, incredibly, three holes-in-one on the 16th hole. As exciting as the first two aces by Shane Lowry and Davis Love III were, they were overshadowed by Louis Oosthuizen’s shot later on Sunday afternoon.

J.B. Holmes was paired with Oosthuizen and played first from the 16th tee. Holmes hit a great tee shot to about 4 feet above the hole. Oosthuizen then stepped onto the tee with a 7-iron and watched as his ball took the slope toward the flagstick, ricocheted off of Holmes’ ball and eventually found its way to the bottom of the hole for a hole-in-one. How do the Rules of Golf apply in this unique situation?

Let’s start with Oosthuizen. His ball in motion was deflected by Holmes’ ball, which was in play and at rest. Since the stroke was not made from the putting green – Rule 19-5a tells us that there is no penalty to either player – Oosthuizen simply plays his ball from wherever it came to rest. In this case, there were no more strokes to be played as the ball was holed for an unlikely ace!

For Holmes’ ball, it is Rule 18-5 that applies. He simply replaces his ball as near as possible to the spot where it was before Oosthuizen’s ball struck and moved it. Replacing the ball is mandatory, meaning that Holmes is required to pick up his ball that was about a foot from the hole and place it in its original resting place. Even if Holmes’ ball had been knocked into the hole, he would have had to pull it out and proceed with his second stroke.

Jamie Wallace is the manager of Rules education and digital content for the USGA. Email him at jwallace@usga.org.

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