Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Lesson in Rule 28 - Imperfect 10 John Daly makes sextuple-bogey in Tampa | Golf Channel

Imperfect 10 John Daly makes sextuple-bogey in Tampa | Golf Channel

            John Daly’s sextuple-bogey on the third hole of the Tampa Bay Championship yesterday is the perfect opportunity to talk about Rule 28 – Ball Unplayable.  In the article above the score is described as including two unplayable ball penalties, and a bunch of other strokes.  John’s biggest mistake, it appears, was his attempt to advance the ball in the first place. 
            Rules 28 affords the player three options under penalty of one stroke if they decide to declare the ball unplayable:
  1. Play a ball as near as possible from the previous spot (i.e., proceed under stroke and distance); or
  2. Drop a ball keeping the point where the ball lay directly between the hole and spot on which the ball is dropped with no limit to how far behind that point the ball may be dropped; or
  3. Drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole.

When John Daly attempted to advance the ball from the difficult position after his tee shot, he lost the ability to effectively use option 1.  The previous spot was only 5 inches away.  He was no longer permitted to go back to the tee.  He then proceeded under 28c (option 3) and dropped the ball two club-lengths from where it lay. 
            Now at this point, it made sense for him to try and advance the ball.  Unlike Rule 26 (Water Hazards), which has a “regression” rule (26-2), there are two potential situations that are considered regression under Rule 28:

  1.  If the dropped ball rolls into the position from which it was declared unplayable, or into another unplayable position, you do not re-drop.  The only option is to again take an unplayable, or attempt to advance the ball. (See Decision 28/3).
  2.  If the only option is for a player to take a series of unplayable penalties in order to extricate himself from the area, he must do so (See Decision 28/5). 

So once Daly made a stroke at the ball lying poorly, his only real option was to successively take unplayable penalties and attempt to advance the ball, because nothing in the Rules permitted him to get out of that area (presuming 28b/option 2 at the top was infeasible).  In Daly’s case, it took him two unplayable penalties and three strokes to advance it to a position where he could successfully advance the ball near the green.

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