Tuesday, April 2, 2013

You Marked Your Ball with What?: NCPGA Pro Series 4 at Silverado

            It isn’t often that I get to play in a tournament myself anymore, and it’s even more rare that interesting Rules situations occur during that round.  Monday, however, was one of those days.
            During the Pro Series 4 at Silverado Country Club, there were two rare, but relatively routine Rules occurrences within my own grouping.  (For those who are wondering, despite never getting to practice and playing less than 30 rounds in the last 3 years, I fired 74 and managed to make a little more than my entry fee back.)

When Balls Collide

            It was the very first hole when I managed to land myself in a Rules conundrum.  My fellow-competitor had hit his chip shot about six feet short and left of the hole and I was left with a bunker shot from about hole-high.  The ball looked as though it would neither assist nor interfere with my play so I went ahead with my bunker shot.  I’m sure you all realize this wouldn’t be mentioned in an article about the Rules if my ball had missed the other, so of course, I managed to hit the ball at rest and move it several inches.
            Two Rules apply to the situation.  The first, with relation to my ball, is Rule 19-5a.  My ball in motion was stopped by another ball at rest.  According to Rule 19-5a, because the stroke was made from off the putting green, I was required to play the ball from where it came to rest without penalty.  And I did (I holed the putt for par).
            The second Rule that applied was Rule 18-5.  My fellow-competitor’s ball at rest was moved by another ball.  He was required to replace the ball, without penalty.  And he did.
            If only I had the video camera running during the stroke…

An Obscene Identification Mark

            The second Rules instance came much later in the round, in fact, it was on our 17th hole of the day.  The 8th hole at Silverado is a sharp dogleg with out of bounds on the left and a lateral water hazard on the right.  My fellow-competitor hit his first shot left headed toward the out of bounds.  He grabbed another ball from his bag and noted its distinct marking.  Apparently, the last time he’d played with some friends, he managed to play with a ball with a penis drawn on it.  Lovely.  At my provocation he managed to mention the word provisional and pumped this one down the right hand side, near the hazard and cart path. 
            His first ball was out of bounds (so my prodding him to say the word provisional didn’t actually matter so much), but his provisional and now ball in play, had come to rest next to the cart path.  I took him through the relief procedure, which he completed properly.  Or so I thought.
            After gathering some distance information and after I had hit my second shot to the green, he called me over and said, “I think I’ve made a mistake, I had put both balls in my pocket and accidentally dropped my out of bounds ball.”  We must remember that his provisional/ball in play was distinctively marked – with a penis – and so it was clear that he had not dropped the correct ball.  Eraser Rule to the rescue!  I told him that he it was good he had said something because he was not permitted to substitute a ball when proceeding under 24-2, but because he had not played the ball he could correct the mistake under Rule 20-6 without penalty by dropping the correct ball.  I took him through the relief procedure again and had him drop the correct ball.  This kept his eventual double bogey as only a double bogey.  Had he played the incorrectly substituted ball he would have incurred a two-stroke penalty under Rule 15-2.  It’s good to know the Rules isn’t it?

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