Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wall Lining the 17th at the International Crown


            On the 17th hole yesterday at the International Crown at Caves Valley in my birth town of Owings Mills, MD (Go O's!), twice (on television coverage) a ball came to rest on the rock wall lining the water hazard guarding the green.  For those who want to know what to do when your ball ends up in this spot, read on.
            First, it should also be noted that a television cable had been run along the wall directly next to the cut of grass and in the first instance was next to the player's ball. 
            The television cable is a movable obstruction.  Movable obstructions are one of the very few things you get relief for even when your ball lies in a water hazard.*  In this case, the player should be allowed to remove the cable, and if the ball moved as a result, she would have to replace the ball at the original spot without penalty. (Thanks to MJ for telling me this is exactly what occurred).
            Well how about playing the ball of the wall?  Stacy Lewis chipped from off the wall in an attempt to help Paula Creamer and herself square the match.  Obviously she was permitted to do so, and she was permitted to ground her club on the rock wall as well.
            I’ll cover two scenarios since I don’t have the International Crown local rules:
The rock wall is an immovable obstruction inside a water hazard.  The Note to Rule 13-4 permits a player to touch an obstruction in a hazard with a club or otherwise even when their ball lies in the same hazard.  Because of the note, the obstruction is not considered “ground” in the hazard.  (See Decision 13-4/30 regarding bridges over water hazards). 
It is also possible that the LPGA declared that wall to be an “integral part of the course” because they did not want to give relief for interference by the wall for a ball lying barely outside the hazard.  Even if the LPGA had declared the wall an integral part of the course, Lewis was still permitted to touch the wall with her club or otherwise, because that same Note to Rule 13-4 permits touching integral parts of the course as well.
So if your ball comes to rest on one of these types of walls, go ahead and play it if you can, just be careful you don’t fall backwards!

*For those wondering what other things you get relief for when your ball lies in a water hazard, see the Local Rules in Appendix I for “Protection of Young Trees” and “Temporary Immovable Obstructions.”

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