Rule 9 - Ball Played as It Lies; Ball at Rest Lifted or Moved

9.2  Deciding Whether Ball Moved and What Caused It to Move

9.2a/1 – When a Ball Is Treated as Having Moved

As stated in the definitions, to “move”, a ball at rest must leave its original spot and come to rest on any other spot and the movement must be enough that it can be seen by the naked eye. In order to treat the ball as movedMoved: When a ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so)., there must be knowledge or virtual certainty: that the ball has movedMoved: When a ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so)..

An example of when it is known or virtually certainKnown or Virtually Certain: The standard for deciding what happened to a player’s ball – for example, whether the ball came to rest in a penalty area, whether it moved or what caused it to move. that a ball has movedMoved: When a ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). is:

An example of when it is not known or virtually certainKnown or Virtually Certain: The standard for deciding what happened to a player’s ball – for example, whether the ball came to rest in a penalty area, whether it moved or what caused it to move. that a ball has movedMoved: When a ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). is:

9.2a/2 – Player Responsible for Actions That Cause Ball to Move Even When Not Aware Ball Moved

In the second bullet point in 9.2a/1, the player did not make a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. from a wrong placeWrong Place: Any place on the course other than where the player is required or allowed to play his or her ball under the Rules. because it was not known or virtually certainKnown or Virtually Certain: The standard for deciding what happened to a player’s ball – for example, whether the ball came to rest in a penalty area, whether it moved or what caused it to move. that the ball had movedMoved: When a ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). at the time the ball was played.

However, if it was the player’s actions (or the actions of the player’s caddieCaddie: Someone who helps a player during a round, including in these ways: or partnerPartner: A player who competes together with another player as a side, in either match play or stroke play.) that caused the ball to move: , the player is always responsible for the movement, even when the player is not aware that his or her actions caused the ball to move: .

Examples of this include:

In both of these situations, even though the player was not aware that the ball movedMoved: When a ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so)., if the player makes a strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball. without first replacing the ball, the player gets the general penaltyGeneral Penalty: Loss of hole in match play or two penalty strokes in stroke play. for playing from a wrong placeWrong Place: Any place on the course other than where the player is required or allowed to play his or her ball under the Rules. under Rule 14.7a (Place from Where Ball Must Be Played).

Interpretations Note for Rule 9.2:

See Interpretations for Definition of “Known or Virtually Certain” for guidance.

9.4  Ball Lifted or Moved by Player

9.4a/1 – Procedure When Player’s Ball Is Dislodged From Tree

Rule 9.4 applies wherever a ball in playIn Play: The status of a player’s ball when it lies on the course and is being used in the play of a hole: is on the courseCourse: The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee:. This includes when a ball is in a tree. However, when the player does not intend to play the ball as it lies but is trying only to identify it, or intends to retrieve it to use another Rule, the Exceptions to Rule 9.4b apply and there is no penalty. For example:

However, if the player moves: the ball when he or she is not intending to identify it or without intending to take relief under another Rule, the player does get a penalty for a breach of Rule 9.4. For example:

9.4b/1 – Ball Deliberately Touched but Not Moved Results in Penalty to Player

When the ball in playIn Play: The status of a player’s ball when it lies on the course and is being used in the play of a hole: is deliberately touched by the player, even if it does not move: , the player gets one penalty stroke under Rule 9.4b.

For example, a player gets one penalty stroke if he or she:

9.4b/2 – Meaning of “Trying to Find”

In Rule 7.4 (Ball Accidentally Moved in Trying to Find or Identify It) and Exception 2 of Rule 9.4, there is no penalty if a ball is accidentally moved while “trying to find” it. “Trying to find” includes actions that can reasonably be considered part of searching for the ball, including the actions allowed by Rule 7.1 (How to Fairly Search for Ball). It does not include actions before a search begins such as walking to the area where the ball is expected to be.

For example, a player’s ball is hit towards a wooded area. The player is not aware the ball has struck a tree and deflected back towards the teeing areaTeeing Area: The area the player must play from in starting the hole he or she is playing.. When the player is still some distance from the area where he or she believes the ball is likely to be and before starting to search, the player accidentally kicks his or her ball. Because this was not while trying to find the ball, the player gets one penalty stroke under Rule 9.4b for accidentally moving: his or her ball and must replaceReplace: To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play. the ball.

9.4b/3 – Ball Moved When Search Temporarily Stopped

In 9.4b/2 a player gets a penalty if the ball is movedMoved: When a ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). when he or she is not trying to find it.

However, If a player accidentally moves: his or her ball when search is temporarily stopped due to circumstances outside the player’s control, the player gets no penalty for moving: the ball.

For example:

9.4b/4 – Meaning of “While” in Rule 9.4b Exception 4

Exception 4 uses “while” to govern the time period when the Exception will apply to a player who moves: his or her ball in playIn Play: The status of a player’s ball when it lies on the course and is being used in the play of a hole: as a result of “reasonable actions”. For the meaning of “reasonable actions”, see 9.4b/2.

The use of the word “while” indicates that every reasonable action in applying a Rule has a beginning and an end and, if the ball’s movement occurs during the time that such action is taking place, the Exception applies.

Examples of situations covered by Exception 4, therefore resulting in no penalty for causing the ball to move: , include when:

9.4b/5 – Meaning of “Reasonable Actions” in Rule 9.4b Exception 4

In many situations, the Rules require a player to perform actions near or next to the ball (such as lifting, marking: , measuring, etc.). If the ball is accidentally movedMoved: When a ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). while taking these “reasonable actions”, Exception 4 to Rule 9.4 applies.

However, there are other situations when the player is taking actions farther from the ball where, even though the ball might be movedMoved: When a ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). as a result of those actions, Exception 4 also applies because those actions are “reasonable”.

These include when:

In other situations, Exception 4 to Rule 9.4 does not apply because the player’s actions are not “reasonable”.

These include when:

9.4b/6 – Player Lifts Ball Under Rule 16.1b That Allows Free Relief but Then Decides Not to Take Free Relief

In the general areaGeneral Area: The area of the course that covers all of the courseexcept for the other four defined areas: (1) the teeing area the player must play from in starting the hole he or she is playing, (2) all penalty areas, (3) all bunkers, and (4) the putting green of the hole the player is playing., if a player lifts his or her ball with the intention to take free relief under Rule 16.1b (Abnormal Course Conditions), but then decides not to proceed under that Rule despite relief being available, the player’s right to lift the ball under Rule 16.1b is no longer valid.

After lifting the ball but before doing anything else, the player has the following options:

9.5  Ball Lifted or Moved by Opponent in Match Play

9.5b/1 – Player Declares Found Ball as His or Hers and This Causes Opponent to Lift Another Ball That Turns Out to Be the Player’s Ball

Under Rule 9.5b, an opponentOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. gets one penalty stroke for lifting the player’s ball unless one of the Exceptions applies.

For example, during a search Player A finds a ball and states that it is his or hers. Player B (the opponentOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play.) finds another ball and lifts it. Player A then realizes the found ball was not in fact his or her ball and the ball Player B lifted was Player A’s ball.

Since the ball was not in fact found when Player B lifted Player A’s ball, it is considered to have been accidentally movedMoved: When a ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). during search and Exception 3 to Rule 9.5b applies. The player or opponentOpponent: The person a player competes against in a match. The term opponent applies only in match play. must replaceReplace: To place a ball by setting it down and letting it go, with the intent for it to be in play. the ball without penalty to anyone.

9.6  Ball Lifted or Moved by Outside Influence

9.6/1 – Outside Influence Moved by Wind Causes Ball to Move

Wind is not itself an outside influenceOutside Influence: Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to a player’s ball or equipment or to the course:, but if wind causes an outside influenceOutside Influence: Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to a player’s ball or equipment or to the course: to move: a player’s ball, Rule 9.6 applies.

For example, if a player’s ball comes to rest in a plastic bag (movable obstructionMovable Obstruction: An obstruction that can be moved with reasonable effort and without damaging the obstruction or the course.) that is lying on the ground, and a gust of wind blows the bag and moves: the ball, the bag (outside influenceOutside Influence: Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to a player’s ball or equipment or to the course:) is considered to have movedMoved: When a ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). the ball. The player may either:

9.6/2 – Where to Replace Ball When It Was Moved from Unknown Location

If a ball has been movedMoved: When a ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). by an outside influenceOutside Influence: Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to a player’s ball or equipment or to the course: and the original spot where the ball lay is not known, the player must use his or her reasonable judgment (Rule 1.3b(2)) to determine where the ball had come to rest before it was movedMoved: When a ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so)..

For example, on a particular hole, part of the putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole the player is playing that: and adjoining area cannot be seen by the players playing towards it. Near the putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole the player is playing that: there is a bunkerBunker: A specially prepared area of sand, which is often a hollow from which turf or soil was removed. and a penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if the player’s ball comes to rest there.. A player plays towards the putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole the player is playing that: and cannot tell where the ball came to rest. The players see a person (outside influenceOutside Influence: Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to a player’s ball or equipment or to the course:) with a ball. The person drops the ball and runs away. The player identifies it as his or her ball. The player does not know whether the ball was on the putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole the player is playing that:, in the general areaGeneral Area: The area of the course that covers all of the courseexcept for the other four defined areas: (1) the teeing area the player must play from in starting the hole he or she is playing, (2) all penalty areas, (3) all bunkers, and (4) the putting green of the hole the player is playing., in the bunkerBunker: A specially prepared area of sand, which is often a hollow from which turf or soil was removed., or in the penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if the player’s ball comes to rest there..

As it is impossible to know where the ball should be replaced: , the player must use reasonable judgment. If it is equally likely the ball came to rest on the putting greenPutting Green: The area on the hole the player is playing that:, in the general areaGeneral Area: The area of the course that covers all of the courseexcept for the other four defined areas: (1) the teeing area the player must play from in starting the hole he or she is playing, (2) all penalty areas, (3) all bunkers, and (4) the putting green of the hole the player is playing., in the bunkerBunker: A specially prepared area of sand, which is often a hollow from which turf or soil was removed., or in the penalty areaPenalty Area: An area from which relief with a one-stroke penalty is allowed if the player’s ball comes to rest there.,  a reasonable judgment would be to estimate the ball came to rest in the general areaGeneral Area: The area of the course that covers all of the courseexcept for the other four defined areas: (1) the teeing area the player must play from in starting the hole he or she is playing, (2) all penalty areas, (3) all bunkers, and (4) the putting green of the hole the player is playing..

9.6/3 – Player Learns That Ball Moved After Stroke Made

If it is not known or virtually certainKnown or Virtually Certain: The standard for deciding what happened to a player’s ball – for example, whether the ball came to rest in a penalty area, whether it moved or what caused it to move. that the player’s ball has been movedMoved: When a ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). by an outside influenceOutside Influence: Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to a player’s ball or equipment or to the course:, the player must play the ball as it lies. If information that the ball was in fact movedMoved: When a ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). by an outside influenceOutside Influence: Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to a player’s ball or equipment or to the course: only becomes known to the player after the ball has been played, the player did not play from a wrong placeWrong Place: Any place on the course other than where the player is required or allowed to play his or her ball under the Rules. because this knowledge did not exist when the player made the strokeStroke: The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball..

9.6/4 – Ball at Rest Played and then Discovered to Have Been Moved by Outside Influence; Ball Turns Out to be Wrong Ball

If a player discovers, after playing his or her ball, that it had been movedMoved: When a ball at rest has left its original spot and come to rest on any other spot, and this can be seen by the naked eye (whether or not anyone actually sees it do so). onto the courseCourse: The entire area of play within the edge of any boundaries set by the Committee: by an outside influenceOutside Influence: Any of these people or things that can affect what happens to a player’s ball or equipment or to the course: after the ball had come to rest out of boundsOut of Bounds: All areas outside the boundary edge of the course as defined by the Committee. All areas inside that edge are in bounds., the player has played a wrong ballWrong Ball: Any ball other than the player’s: (see Definition). Because it was not known or virtually certainKnown or Virtually Certain: The standard for deciding what happened to a player’s ball – for example, whether the ball came to rest in a penalty area, whether it moved or what caused it to move. at the time the ball was played, the player does not get a penalty for playing a wrong ballWrong Ball: Any ball other than the player’s: under Rule 6.3c(1) but might need to correct the mistake by proceeding under Rule 18.2b (What to Do When Ball Is Lost or Out of Bounds) depending when that discovery is made: