Friday, September 13, 2013

BOTH world #1's Penalized Under Rule 18-2


          It certainly is Friday the 13th.  Jim Furyk shoots 59 and not one, but both the Men's World #1 AND the Women's World #1 were hit by penalties under Rule 18-2.  Inbee Park had a ball that moved after she had addressed it on the putting green and incurred a penalty under Rule 18-2b, while Tiger suffered at the hands of a freelance videographer for a violation he could not have seen with the naked eye and ended up incurring the general penalty (two strokes in stroke play) under Rule 18-2a.  

Tiger and the Videographer

            On the first hole today at the BMW Championship a loose impediment was very close to Tiger Woods’ golf ball.  Rule 23-1 permits players to remove loose impediments through the green but in doing so the ball must not be moved.  During the round, Tiger thought that the ball had simply oscillated and had not moved, but footage from a freelance videographer given to Slugger White and the PGA Tour team showed that the ball had in fact changed its position. Since Tiger did not replace the ball to its original position (believing that it hadn’t actually moved) he was subject to a two-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2a.  As we’ll see in the next situation, under Rule 18-2 it’s a one-stroke penalty for moving the ball in play at rest, and then it becomes a two-stroke penalty for playing from a wrong place if the ball is not replaced.

UPDATE:  PGA Tour official later stated that the footage was captured in the normal process of filming non-televised video.  It also is clear that Tiger could have seen the movement, but I can also see from his angle it perhaps maybe looked like an oscillation or that perhaps the ball had not physically changed positions.


            This is a rather unfortunate situation and although I used to be a fan of any and all information that could be used, I think maybe we have gone a bit too far.  In a situation where the player is present and believes the ball did not move or change positions and perhaps could not possibly tell if the ball has moved without video footage, then it’s time we let the players play.  If it takes slow motion video in order to tell that the ball has moved, perhaps it’s a bit unfair to penalize a player who was not able to see the movement with the naked eye.  Just saying…

Inbee and the (Not So) New Definition

            Inbee Park at the Evian Championship on the other side of the globe also incurred a penalty under Rule 18-2 today.  On the 2nd hole (her 11th), she grounded her club behind the ball and it moved.  At first she believed she wouldn’t be subject to penalty thinking that the old definition of “Addressing the Ball” was in place, where a player had to take his stance before the ball would be addressed.  That definition actually changed in 2012 and now a ball is addressed once the player has grounded the club immediately in front of or behind the ball regardless of whether the stance has been taken. 
            Since Park had grounded her club immediately behind the ball, she had addressed it and when the ball moved she was subject to a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2b and the ball had to be replaced.  In this situation the Exception to Rule 18-2b did not apply and since she was able to put the ball back before making a stroke, the penalty stayed at one stroke and did not become a two-stroke penalty for playing from a wrong place.

1 comment:

  1. It is unfair to hold players responsible to the observational ability of slow motion cameras. Unlike football where reply is used to confirm/overturn decisions immediately afterwards, in golf the player is not made aware of the "evidence" until the after the situation has played out. If the player is given the same evidence as the ruling committee before he makes his following decision it would be acceptable. But that is not currently (nor will any time in the near future) how reply is used in golf.

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