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Incorrect Information on Rules

A player incurs no penalty for giving incorrect information on the Rules (see Definition of "Rules"); this is not wrong information as that term is used in Rule 9. It is up to each player to know the Rules (Rule 6-1). However, if it is established that a player has knowingly given incorrect information on the Rules, the Committee would be justified in imposing a penalty of disqualification under Rule 33-7.



Meaning of "As Soon as Practicable" in Rule 9-2

Rule 9-2b(i) requires a player who has incurred a penalty to inform his opponent "as soon as practicable." This phrase is purposely broad so as to allow for consideration of the circumstances in each situation, especially the proximity of the player to his opponent. Thus, informing the opponent "as soon as practicable" of a penalty incurred does not, in all circumstances mean that the player must do so before the opponent plays his next stroke.


Incorrect Information Given by Caddie or Partner

Q.If incorrect information as to the number of strokes a player has taken is given to an opponent, not by the player himself, but by the player's partner or caddie, is the player liable to a penalty under Rule 9-2?

A.Yes, provided the error is not corrected before the opponent makes his next stroke.


Wrong Information on Strokes Taken Given Voluntarily

Q.In a match between A and B, A voluntarily told B during play of a hole that he had played three strokes, whereas in fact he had played four strokes. A did not correct the error before B played his next stroke. Was A subject to penalty under Rule 9-2?

A.Yes. When a player gives incorrect information, it is irrelevant whether the error is contained in a response to a question from the player's opponent or in a voluntary statement by the player. Such an error must be corrected before the opponent's next stroke is made.


Player Refuses to Tell Opponent How Many Strokes He Has Taken

Q.In a match, B asks A how many strokes he (A) has taken during play of a hole or on a hole just completed. A refuses to give B the information requested. What is the ruling?

A.A incurs the general penalty of loss of hole (Rule 2-6) for failing to act in accordance with the requirements of Rule 9-2a. The penalty applies to the hole being played or, if the hole has been completed, the penalty applies to the last hole played.


Withholding Information on Strokes Taken Until Opponent's Turn to Play

Q.In a match between A and B, A asks B during play of a hole how many strokes he (B) has taken. B, whose turn it is to play, withholds the information until he has played his next stroke. Is B subject to penalty under Rule 9-2?

A.No, provided B gave the information before A played his next stroke.


Incorrect Information Causes Opponent to Lift His Ball-Marker

Q.Rule 9-2 provides that, if during play of a hole a player gives incorrect information to the opponent and does not correct the error before the opponent makes his next stroke, the player loses the hole. During play of a hole, a player gives incorrect information to his opponent and the incorrect information results in the opponent lifting the coin marking the position of his ball. Is the lifting of the coin by the opponent the equivalent of the opponent making his next stroke?

A.Yes; the player loses the hole.

Related Decisions:

2-4/3 Player Lifts Ball in Mistaken Belief That Next Stroke Conceded.

2-4/3.5 Stroke Conceded by Caddie.

20-1/8 Ball-Marker Lifted by Player Who Mistakenly Believes He Has Won Hole.


Player Reporting Wrong Score Causes Opponent with Chance for Half to Pick Up Ball

Q.In match play, A holed out and stated to B, his opponent, that he had scored a 4. B, having played four strokes, picked up assuming he had lost the hole. A then realized that he had scored a 5. He immediately told B. What is the ruling?

A.A gave wrong information as to the number of strokes taken and, under the principle of Rule 9-2, A would normally lose the hole. However, since A had holed out for no worse than a half, the hole was halved – see Rule 2-2.

Related Decisions:

2-5/3 Player Lifts Ball Before Holing Out; Opponent Then Picks Up His Ball Claiming Player Loses Hole.

30/5 In Four-Ball Match Player with Putt for Half Picks Up in Error at Suggestion of Opponent Based on Misunderstanding.

30-3f/3 Player's Ball Resting Against Flagstick Lifted Before Being Holed; Others in Match Pick Up Mistakenly Believing Player Won Hole.


Incorrect Information Given by Player Corrected Before Opponent Makes Next Stroke But After Opponent Has Conceded Player's Putt

Q.In a match, A's ball was a few inches from the hole. B asked A, "How many will that be in the hole?" A answered "6," whereupon B, lying 5, conceded A's next stroke. Before B putted, A informs B that he (A) had actually scored 5. What is the ruling?

A.A loses the hole under Rule 9-2 for giving wrong information.

The principle of Rule 9-2 applies if, after receiving incorrect information, a player picks up his ball, concedes his opponent's next stroke or takes some similar action before the mistake is corrected.

In this case, the answer does not turn on how close A's ball was to the hole or on the fact that B could not have done any better.


Player Wins Hole with Wrong Ball; Error Discovered at Next Hole; Opponent Claims Previous Hole

Q.In a match, A holed out in 3 at the 5th hole. His opponent, B, holed out in 4. After driving from the next tee, it was discovered that A had played a wrong ball at the 5th hole. B claimed the 5th hole. What is the ruling?

A.Since A failed to inform B as soon as practicable that he had incurred a penalty for playing a wrong ball, he is deemed to have given wrong information even though he was not aware he had incurred a penalty (Rule 9-2). Thus, B's belated claim was valid (Rule 2-5) and the Committee should have ruled that B won the 5th hole.

Related Decisions:

2-5/4 Player Wins Hole with Own Ball After Playing Wrong Ball; Opponent Lodges Belated Claim.

30-3c/2 Player Wins Hole with Wrong Ball and Partner Picks Up; Error Discovered at Next Hole.

30-3c/3 Players on Opposite Sides Exchange Balls During Play of Hole and Their Partners Pick Up; Error Discovered at Next Hole.

30-3c/4 Player Plays Partner's Ball; Error Discovered After Opponents Have Played Next Strokes.


Player Reports Wrong Score for Hole; Error Discovered Several Holes Later

Q.In match play, after completion of a hole, A inadvertently reports to B, his opponent, that he scored a 5, whereas in fact he scored a 6. This results in the hole being halved or won by A. A realizes his mistake several holes later. What is the ruling?

A.In either case, A loses the hole and the state of the match must be adjusted accordingly (Rule 9-2).


Player Omits Penalty Stroke When Advising Opponent as to Score for Hole; Error Discovered After Match Conceded by Opponent

Q.In a match, A and B were all square after 18 holes and were playing the 19th hole. A incurred a penalty stroke but was unaware of that fact. A holed out and told B that he had scored a 6. B played his sixth shot, missed the hole and conceded the match to A.

When returning to the clubhouse, A learned that he had incurred a penalty stroke and that his score had been 7, not 6. B claimed the match on the ground that A gave wrong information. What is the ruling?

A.B's claim was valid since the result had not been announced – see Rule 2-5. A lost the hole for giving wrong information, even though he may not have been aware that he had incurred a penalty (Rule 9-2).

Related Decisions: See "Claims and Disputes: late claim" in the Index.


Opponent's Misreading of Number on Player's Ball Results in Agreement That Player Lost Hole

Q.In a match, A and B are playing the same brand of ball (Brand X). The identification number on A's ball is "3" and A's name is imprinted on his ball. The identification number on B's ball is "5."

On completion of the 2nd hole, which A won, B picks up both balls and says, "Both 5's – which is yours?" A states that he was playing a "3" and therefore he must have played a wrong ball. A and B agree that A lost the hole for playing a wrong ball.

B wins the match and then discovers he has in his possession a Brand X ball with the identification number "3" and A's name imprinted on it. A and B conclude that B misread the number at the 2nd hole. Did B give A wrong information?

A.No. Wrong information as the term is used in Rule 9 refers to the number of strokes taken.

The agreement of A and B that A lost the 2nd hole must stand and the match must stand as played. It would have been advisable for A to inspect the two balls at the 2nd hole.

Related Decisions:

1-1/4 Player Discovers Own Ball Is in Hole After Playing Wrong Ball.

2-4/11 Player with Lost Ball Concedes Hole; Ball Then Found in Hole.

2-5/5 Invalid Claim Not Disputed.


Conscious Failure to Correct Opponent's Misunderstanding of State of Match; What Constitutes Wrong Information

Q.In a match, B is 1 up on A playing the 14th hole. A and B take 6's at the 14th hole, but B, assuming A scored a 5, says: "We are now all square." A says nothing although he knows that both have scored a 6 and he is still 1 down.

At the end of the 17th hole, B, believing he is 2 down, concedes the match, although in fact he is only 1 down. Is A subject to penalty under Rule 9-2 for giving wrong information?

A.No. Rule 9-2 deals with giving wrong information as to the number of strokes taken at a hole and would include acquiescence by the player (whether oral or tacit) in a misstatement by his opponent of the number of strokes taken by the player. Wrong information does not include acquiescence by the player in a misstatement by his opponent of the result of a hole or the state of the match.

However, A's conscious failure to correct B's misunderstanding of the state of the match is so contrary to the spirit of the game that the Committee should disqualify A under Rule 33-7 and reinstate B.

Related Decision:

2-5/9 Player Agreeing with Opponent That Hole Was Halved Later Realizes He Has Won Hole; Player Then Makes Claim.


Player Who Told Opponent He Would Proceed Under Water Hazard Rule Changes Mind After Opponent Plays

Q.In a match, B hit his tee shot short of a water hazard and A hits his into the hazard. Before B played his second shot he asked A what he was going to do. A said he was going to drop out and take a one-stroke penalty. B then played his second shot, after which A changed his mind and played his ball out of the hazard. Did A give wrong information, contrary to Rule 9-2?

A.No. A could have refused to answer B's question or replied that he would await B's play before deciding his own tactics. The fact that A did tell B what he planned to do does not preclude A from changing his mind.

Related Decisions:

3-3/7.5 Competitor Announces Intention to Play Two Balls; Plays Original Ball Before Dropping Second Ball; Elects Not to Play Second Ball.

18-2a/12.5 Player Entitled to Relief Without Penalty from Condition Lifts Ball; Chooses Not to Take Relief and Wishes to Proceed Under the Unplayable Ball Rule.

18-2a/27.5 Player Who States He Will Proceed Under Unplayable Ball Rule Subsequently Assesses Possibility of Playing Ball as It Lies.

28/13 After Deeming Ball Unplayable and Lifting It, Player Discovers Ball Was in Ground Under Repair.


Incorrect Information Causes Opponent Mistakenly to Think He Has Putt for Half; Opponent Holes Putt and Then Error Discovered

Q.In a match between A and B, A's ball was a few inches from the hole. B conceded A's next stroke and then asked, "How many strokes did you take?" A answered, "6." B, lying 5, then holed a putt for a 6 and assumed that he had halved the hole. At that point, A told B that he (A) had actually scored 5. The Committee ruled that A won the hole. Was this correct?

A.Yes. The hole was over when A's putt was conceded and he had won the hole with a 5. Since A corrected the error before either player played from the next tee, no penalty was incurred – see Rule 9-2.


Wrong Information After Play of Hole; When Penalty Applicable

Q.Decision 9-2/14 implies that, if A had not corrected the error before playing from the next tee, he would have lost the hole under Rule 9-2. However, it would seem that A would not incur a penalty because he won the hole, and therefore the incorrect information did not affect the result of the hole. Which answer is correct?

A.There is a penalty for giving incorrect information after play of a hole that is not corrected before play from the next teeing ground unless the incorrect information does not affect the opponent's understanding of the result of the hole just completed. Incorrect information would not affect the opponent's understanding of the result of the hole in the following circumstances: A and B are playing a match. After play of a hole, A states that he scored 5 and B states that he (B) scored 7. After teeing off at the next hole, A states that he was incorrect in saying that he scored 5 and that, in fact, he scored 6.

In Decision 9-2/14, the incorrect information caused B to believe that the hole in question had been halved, when in fact B lost the hole. Accordingly, if A had not corrected the error before playing from the next tee, under Rule 9-2 the hole would have been awarded to B.


Ascertaining Whereabouts of Opponent's Ball Before Playing

Q.In a match, B's tee shot may be lost, out of bounds or in a water hazard. In view of the wording in Rule 9-2a, under which an opponent is entitled to ascertain from the player the number of strokes he has taken, may A go forward to determine the status of B's ball before he (A) plays from the tee?

A.No. A would be in breach of Rule 6-7 (Undue Delay) if he did so. A player may make such a determination only if it can be done without unduly delaying play.

Related Decision:

8-1/5 Seeking Information on Whereabouts of Another Player's Ball.

Other Decisions related to Rule 9-2: See "Claims and Disputes," "Information as to Strokes Taken" and "Wrong Information" in the Index.



Competitor in Hole-by-Hole Play-Off Gives Wrong Information

Q.In a stroke-play hole-by-hole play-off, B has completed the hole in 5 strokes. Having no other readily available means for determining B's score at that point, A, who has a putt for a 5, inquires as to the number of strokes B has taken for the hole. B wrongly states that he (B) has holed out in 4 strokes. A picks up his ball without marking its position based on his understanding that B had won the play-off. B then corrects his error. What is the ruling?

A.If B intentionally misled A, B is disqualified under Rule 33-7.

If B simply made a mistake, B incurs no penalty. Rule 9 imposes no penalty for giving wrong information as to the number of strokes in stroke play. In these exceptional circumstances, A incurs no penalty for lifting his ball at rest without marking it. In a stroke-play hole-by-hole play-off, it is not necessary for A to complete the hole if B is the winner (see Decision 33-6/3), and since A had no other readily available means for determining B's score at that point, it was reasonable for A to rely on B's answer. Accordingly, by providing the incorrect information that induced A to lift his ball, B (not A) should be deemed to have caused the movement of A's ball. Therefore, in these limited circumstances, Rule 18-4 applies, i.e., neither player incurs a penalty and A must replace his ball – see Decision 18-1/8 and Decision 18-2a/21. This answer only applies in a stroke-play hole-by-hole play-off. In all other cases during a stroke-play competition, A would be obliged in all events to complete play of the hole and it would therefore not be reasonable for A to lift his ball without marking it.

Other Decisions related to Rule 9-3: See "Wrong Information" in the Index.



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