Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kuchar and the Indent

            Ladies and Gentlemen, take note.  To all NCGA officials and other officials who read this:  there is never anything wrong with getting on the radio.  If you’re watching the Barclay’s and Matt Kuchar trying to get relief for something he really shouldn’t be entitled to, Slugger White, VP of Rules and Competitions for the PGA Tour, had no qualms with getting on the radio to get a second opinion.
            The situation is simple:  Kuchar wanted to be able to repair a dent on the green made by a player leaning on his putter.  Players are not permitted to repair this kind of incongruity on the green by themselves, so Kuchar and Woodland called in Slugger White. 
            Slugger initially did not want to give relief.  Kuchar’s ball was through the green so he wouldn’t have been entitled to relief for an abnormal ground condition under Rule 25-1b even if Slugger deemed it so.  However, in such circumstances it is permissible for a member of the Committee to repair such abnormal damage which was the end result after Slugger consulted other Committee members on the radio.  For similar situations see Decisions 16-1a/6 regarding a damaged hole or 16-1c/3 regarding an old hole plug issue.  In both instances a player may and should request assistance from a member of the Committee.


  1. I don’t agree a Committee member can repair a damage on the putting green (different from a ball mark or a damage caused by someone -other than the player- that had damaged the putting green). Referred decisions have to do with damage to the hole and the line of putt (which was not the case). 16-1c/3 refers exclusively to line of putt. Decision 16-1a/6 states that the player must continue play without repairing the hole unless its dimensions have been altered. So, a simple damage in the hole (and less in line of putt) does not entitle the player (or anyone) to repair it (even less in the case of the line of play).

    If you take Slugger’s action as valid, all the time players will request a Committee member to repair the line of play or the line of putt in the putting green, if they find it with any damage. (Although it is clear that in the line of putt the Committee may declare some damage GUR, and repair it or, better, concede relief to the player.

  2. Yes. The Decisions referenced are specific to line of putt and the hole. They are the only justifications you can find in the Rules for the action. However, there are other references to the Committee taking action against unusual conditions, ie squeegee, removal of excess loose impediments, etc. While it is a borderline decision that would set a poor precedent, I don't believe it is that large a stretch to get there in the Rules.