Thursday, January 24, 2013

Here We Go Again... 18-2b

So apparently, Justin Rose could use a quick read from my earlier post, "Stop-and Go, Blow-Wind-Blow" because he clearly didn't get the memo...

On the 17th hole during the first round of the Qatar Masters, Rose addressed his ball on the putting green, and when he did so he believed he had caused the ball to oscillate.  After discussing with the Rules Official he did not have sufficient evidence that he did not cause the ball to move and was assessed a one-stroke penalty.  To be specific, he then had to replace the ball, however small the movement was.

"I feel hard done by," said Rose via Sky Sports, to cut to the chase the greens aren't perfect and have a lot of ridges and humps and hollows."  He claimed that poor timing was the culprit as the ball finished settling into one of those hollows just as he set his putter behind the ball.  Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

Let's take a look back to remind ourselves about the new Exeption to Rule 18-2b and the Rule itself so we can stop having controversy every time the ball moves a little:

b. Ball Moving After Address

If a player's ball in play moves after he has addressed it (other than as a result of a stroke), the player is deemed to have moved the ball and incurs a penalty of one stroke.

The ball must be replaced, unless the movement of the ball occurs after the player has begun the stroke or the backward movement of the club for the stroke and the stroke is made.

Exception:  If it is known or virtually certain that the player did not cause his ball to move, Rule 18-2b does not apply.

A lot of Tour players are upset when they believe gravity is the cause of movement, such as an uneven hollow for a ball to settle in.  What they don't know, unless they read the Decisions book, is that the ruling bodies have decided against gravity as an agency for this exception.  Decision 18-2b/11 states, "Gravity is not in itself an element that should be considered when applying the Exception to Rule 18-2b; therefore unless it is known or virtually certain that some agency other than gravity (e.g., outside agency or wind) caused the ball to move after address, the player is subject to a one stroke penalty under Rule 18-2b and must replace the ball."

As I stated in my previous article, the Exception to Rule 18-2b was written specifically with wind in mind.  You still need to be careful when addressing the ball in any situation.

Justin Rose did have one quote that at least took this Rules blogger off his case, "...but I guess that's the good thing about golf - you have to self-police out there.  Nobody else in the group saw it, but I knew the ball had moved when I addressed it."

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