Sunday, March 17, 2013

MGA Rules Quiz Answers Are Here

            The answers to the MGA Rules Quiz are now available at the MGA’s website.  Ryan Gregg and myself made our guesses following the arrival of this year’s quiz, and I am dismayed to see that we have 4 answers different.

To see the complete answer and reference list Click Here

            Of those, however, I am thoroughly convinced I have a good argument against two of the MGA answers.  One great thing about this Rules quiz is that there are usually several questions that have no official answer yet.  I am going to review the four questions and answers here:

MGA Answer
Our Answer

Question 7

Competitor A swings and misses his tee shot.  He tees the ball lower, takes another swing and drives the ball down the fairway.  His fellow-competitor B then swings and misses his tee shot.  He decides he doesn’t want to use a tee and drops the ball where the tee had been and steps on the turf behind the ball to remove irregularities of surface.  Competitor B then drives the ball down the fairway.  What do competitors A and B now lie?
a.              A lies 2 and B lies 2
b.              A lies 3 and B lies 2
c.               A lies 3 and B lies 3
d.              A lies 3 and B lies 4

We answered C.  The correct answer according to the MGA is B.  We answered C based on Decision 18-2a/1, which applies the stroke and distance penalty to the player A situation.  We determined that player B basically did the same thing.  Here the catch is that the tee is a movable obstruction. 

Under Rule 24-1b if the ball lies in or on the obstruction the player may remove the obstruction and drop it as near as possible to the spot beneath the spot where the ball lay on the obstruction.  Decision 25-2/8 specifically discusses relief situations on the teeing ground. Touché MGA.

Question 10

A player’s tee shot on a 200-yard par-3 comes to rest in a greenside bunker.  He decides his ball is unplayable and takes relief by dropping a ball behind the point where the ball lay keeping that point directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped but the point is outside the bunker.  He addresses the ball and the ball moves.  He replaces the ball, plays to the green and holes the putt.  Before he leaves the green he is informed that he was supposed to have dropped in the bunker and fearing he may have committed a serious breach of playing from a wrong place he drops a ball inside the bunker in accordance with 28b. He plays the ball onto the green and holes the putt.  The player reports the facts to the Committee.  The Committee should rule the player has scored:
a.              4
b.              5
c.               6
d.              7

We answered C.  The player made 3 actual strokes.  He also had 1 penalty stroke for the ball unplayable and 2 for playing from a wrong place.  Note 2 to Rule 20-7c states that strokes made with the ball ruled not to count and any penalty strokes incurred solely by playing that ball are disregarded.  We did not give him a penalty stroke under 18-2b for that reason.  The MGA answer is D.

The argument here is about that penalty stroke under 18-2b.  Even though the movement of the ball preceded the playing from the wrong place, I believe that penalty stroke was incurred solely by playing the ball ruled not to count.  Clearly, the MGA is ruling that the timing matters and that the 18-2b penalty should stick.  Decision 20-7c/5 specifically states 18-2a as one of the kinds of penalties that are disregarded under Note 2 to 20-7c, meaning 18-2b is also one of those kinds of penalties.  I think it is a stretch here to stick the player with the additional one stroke.

Question 14

While entering the bunker to play his ball, a player inadvertently kicks a stick lying in the bunker and the stick strikes his ball moving it several inches. The player plays the ball from its new position.  The player has incurred a:
a.              One stroke penalty
b.              Two stroke penalty
c.               Three stroke penalty
d.              Four stroke penalty

We answered D, giving the player two penalty strokes for moving the loose impediment in a hazard when his ball lies in the same hazard and an additional two penalty strokes for failing to replace the moved ball.  The correct MGA answer is B.  What we missed were Decisions 13-4/13 and 13-4/13.5 which specifically allow the player to accidentally move loose impediments in a hazard when approaching the ball so long as the movement doesn’t affect the lie with respect to 13-2. The player is only penalized two strokes for failing to replace the moved ball.  Touché MGA.

Question 25

Competitor is unaware the ball is in a water hazard.  He addresses the ball and a gust of wind causes his ball to move.  The player picks up the ball and places it in its original position.   He then learns that his ball lies in a water hazard and he proceeds to take relief under Rule 26.   The player has incurred:
a.              1 penalty stroke
b.              2 penalty strokes
c.               3 penalty strokes
d.              4 penalty strokes

We answered D.  You are not able to address the ball in a hazard without incurring the general penalty under Rule 13-4 (see 18-2b/2).  So that is 2 strokes.  He takes relief from the water hazard.  That is 3 strokes.  The MGA’s answer is C.  The final stroke and debate surrounds the ball at rest.  When the gust of wind caused the ball to move, it should have been played from where it came to rest.  Despite the fact that a player may not address the ball without penalty in a hazard, because he did address the ball 18-2b applied.  Because a gust of wind caused the ball to move, the Exception to 18-2b applied. 

When the player lifted his ball in play, he was not aware he was in a hazard and would be taking relief.  Therefore he incurred a 1 stroke penalty under 18-2a.  When he subsequently learned he was in a water hazard he was not required to replace the ball but could proceed under Rule 26.  The stroke for moving his ball at rest does not go away.  That, is 4 strokes.  See Decision 12-1/5 for a situation where a ball at rest in a hazard is moved and the player subsequently takes relief under Rule 26.  The player incurs the one stroke for the initial movement.

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