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Na's Drop On 18 At Players

Posted: 5/16/2012

Why was Kevin Na allowed to play from the cart path on the 18th hole in Sunday's final round of The Players Championship?

During the final round of The Players Championship, Kevin Na’s tee shot came to rest on an awkward slope just to the right of the cart path that runs along the right side of the fairway. When he took his stance to simulate his next stroke, his feet were on the cart path, so he was entitled to relief from the cart path under Rule 24-2 – Obstructions; Immovable Obstruction

Many people have questioned why he was allowed to play the ball from the cart path when it appeared he was taking relief from it. In reality, he didn’t take relief from the cart path.

As it turned out, his ball had come to rest in an area that had been damaged during the week. Na consulted with a PGA Tour official who determined that the area of damage was ground under repair. He was entitled to relief from the ground under repair under Rule 25-1 – Abnormal Ground Conditions; Relief.

Decision 25-1b/11.5 states that when a player has interference from two separate conditions (in Na’s case a cart path and ground under repair) and he desires relief, he must choose one of them from which to first take relief. If he still had interference from the other condition after taking relief from the first condition, he would then be entitled to take relief from it or play the ball as it lay. Na was entitled to choose which condition he wanted to take relief from first. Since taking relief from the cart path would have put his ball higher on the slope next to the path in an even more awkward position, he chose to take relief from the ground under repair first.

His nearest point of relief was behind the area of ground under repair. After measuring the one club-length dropping area from the nearest point of relief that was not nearer the hole, he chose to drop his ball on the cart path. After doing so, the ball came to rest on the cart path in a position that did not require it to be re-dropped.

At this point, Na could have chosen to take relief from the cart path. Feeling that the lie he would have gotten after taking relief would not have been as good as the one he had on the path, he chose to play the ball from the path and hit a wonderful shot to the 18th green.

Na did take complete relief from the condition he chose, which was the Abnormal Ground Condition and then chose not to take relief from the cart path from which he was also entitled to take relief.

Knowing the Rules can help you make the best decisions for your game.

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