Saturday, February 14, 2015

Lifting to Determine the Application of a Rule: Peg Barnard Round 1

     The tournament season has officially begun for us with the first round of the Peg Barnard Invitational hosted by Stanford.  This is my fifth Peg and I'm happy to say that we had an extremely quiet, uneventful day.  The only notable rules reminder that came from the day is the frequently overlooked yet extremely important Decision 20-1/0.7.
    This Decision is important in part because it gets forgotten so often.  When we go through Rule 21 we read about the THREE Rules which prohibit cleaning when lifted, 5-3, 12-2 and 22.  But we have to learn through a good instructor or experience that there is a FOURTH situation, a FOURTH "rule" that we can have a one stroke penalty for a procedural breach or for cleaning the ball when lifted.
   Decision 20-1/0.7 permits the player to lift a ball to determine the application of a Rule.  Traditionally the reason to use this Decision is either for a ball that might be embedded or a ball that might be in a burrowing animal hole.  The catch, in part because it is an equity Decision, is that the permission to lift the ball in this situation comes with a procedure, an "announcey marky" thing (thank you Mr. Staebler for that phrase). The player must announce his intention, mark the position of the ball, give the opponent or a fellow-competitior the opportunity to observe the lifting and must not clean the ball while doing so.  A very familiar procedure and the similarly familiar penalty statement that only applies if the player is NOT entitled to relief: if the player fails to comply with the procedure [meaning one part or all parts] he incurs a penalty of one stroke but incurs no additional penalty under Rule 20-1 or 21.
    So all in one we get a new "announcey marky" thing AND a penalty limitation (golf math 1+1=1).  There is also the possibility for the infamous 2+1=2 (or General penalty+1=General Penalty) if the player is required to replace the ball (because it is determined the relief Rule does not apply), fails to do so AND breaches the procedure.
   This came into play today on several occasions when players were not sure they were entitled to relief for an embedded ball. Fortunately for at least one player, the ball was in fact embedded and once it is determined that Rule 25-2 applies, the rest of the "announcey marky" stuff goes away and the player can proceed under Rule 25-2 as if nothing else ever happened.

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