Saturday, August 31, 2013

Recent Rulings - Associate Club Championship

            Last week during the Associate Club Championship we had a few interesting situations that occurred, not to mention some pace of play situations that led to penalties.

Wrong Ball

            In an event with handicaps ranging from 0 to about 25, you’re bound to have a few mishaps.  During the first round between the fifth and seventh holes one player accidentally played another player’s ball.  The ruling is simple, the player who played the wrong ball must correct the error by playing the correct ball and incurs a two-stroke penalty.  But now we have to get the fellow-competitor’s ball back into play.  Rule 15-3 says, “if the wrong ball belongs to another competitor, its owner must place a ball on the spot from which the wrong ball was first played.”  If the original spot is known and the lie has not been altered this is pretty simple, and in this case that’s what happened.

Touching the Green

            While speaking with our timing official between the 9th and 18th holes of Spyglass Hill during the 2nd round, a player walked up and stated his problem, “Before my partner’s putt I touched the putting green in pointing out a line for him.  I get the penalty right, because I touched the green?” 
            On one hand, he was correct that there was a penalty.  On the other hand, the penalty actually went to his partner, or really he should be considered the player for this situation.  Rule 8-2b states, “When the player’s ball is on the putting green, the player, his partner or either of their caddies may before, but not during the stroke, point out a line for putting, but in doing so the putting green must not be touched.”  The Rule doesn’t limit or penalize the people who touch the green, but the person who is having the line indicated for him.  So even though the partner touched the putting green, the player received the penalty.

Ball on a Rake

            Another Rules question arose while at the turn as a player wanted to clarify a situation that had occurred several holes back.  His ball had come to rest against a rake.  When he removed the rake, the ball moved.  “So I was supposed to play it from where it came to rest right?”  Unfortunately for the player, the answer is no.  He had played the ball from where it came to rest, and unfortunately that meant he incurred a two-stroke penalty for playing from a wrong place in breach of Rule 24-1a.  Rule 24-1a states, “if the ball moves, it must be replaced and there is no penalty provided that the movement of the ball is directly attributable to the removal of the obstruction.”  In this player’s case, he had every right to remove the obstruction and when the ball moved as a result of moving the obstruction he had to put it back.  Since he didn’t put it back he played from a wrong place.  He took the penalty well and added it to his score card on the spot.

Pace of Play

            During the final round we had two pace of play penalties stick, including one to the final group of the day.  We had 6 pace of play appeals throughout the day.  The reason these two penalties did not go away is because there was nothing that warranted waiving the penalties.  They were both18 minutes or more behind the group in front of them.  They were 4 minutes and 13 minutes behind the pace of play.  Nothing occurred on the final hole or holes that caused them to miss their time.  Although we look for every reason not to penalize a group, there was nothing in the appeal that warranted rescinding the penalties.  Because of the 2 best ball of 4 format, the penalty actually had no effect whatsoever on the final pairing, and the earlier penalty had no effect on the competition as they were nowhere near win, place or show.
            (For those following this is under the NCGA Pace of Play – Two Checkpoint Policy in the Pace of Play section of the blog)
            Interesting to note is that 5 of the 6 groups that missed a checkpoint and were subject to a one-stroke penalty had caddies.  There were few other groups in the field that used caddies, if any. In net championships, it is clear that players do not know how to properly use caddies and that caddies do not care about pace of play whether they say so or not.

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