Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dropping INSIDE a Bathroom - Volvo World Match Play

Nicolas Colsaerts Drops Inside a Bathroom
(Thanks to Craig Oliver for Telling Me about this Situation)

The Rules of Golf entered the bathroom joke business today at the Volvo World Match Play at Thracian Cliffs Resort and Golf Club in Bulgaria.
            During the match between Nicolas Colsaerts and Graeme McDowell, Colsaerts hit his tee shot well right and into the lateral water hazard.  Because it was a lateral water hazard, he had the additional options of Rule 26-1c available, which includes dropping two club-lengths from where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard, no nearer the hole.  Because he last crossed the margin of the hazard near a bathroom and he could not drop closer to the hole, his two club-lengths put him inside the bathroom, somewhere between the toilet and the sink.  The Referee did it absolutely correctly by having Colsaerts drop INSIDE the bathroom first.  Once the ball was properly in play inside the bathroom, he was then able to take relief from the immovable obstruction.
            The procedure was very cool from a Rules perspective.  When taking relief in any situation it is not permissible to take relief from two separate situations in one drop, even if it is clear that interference will occur from a second situation after dropping from the first.  This applies for two separate immovable obstructions, two separate abnormal ground conditions, relief from a hazard and then an obstruction, etc.  Decision 1-4/8 helps players deal with two situations when relief causes them to bounce back and forth between them, but even then the player must put a ball in play once for each situation before taking relief from both at once. 
            Decision 24-2b/9 tells us that a player who has interference from an obstruction after taking relief from the initial obstruction is then entitled to relief again.  Again, the same applies if when taking relief from a water hazard an obstruction then interferes.  Nothing in the Rules of Golf, however, permits a player to take relief from both the water hazard and the obstruction in one step.
            Colsaerts was required to drop inside the bathroom (immovable obstruction).  His drops both rolled closer to the hole so he then placed the ball.  He was then permitted to take relief from the obstruction.  Colsaerts found the whole procedure a bit absurd, and perhaps it was, but the Rules required him to go through the entire procedure and he did so correctly under the advisement of the Referee.

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