Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The MGA Quiz Results are Out!


Bravo to the MGA on another wonderful Quiz for 2017. They always manage to find the smallest of holes in the code of the Rules of Golf and rip them open for interesting and unique Rules situations, some of which only have answers based on what your Committee decides. As usual, the combined efforts here on the West Coast were not able to divine the true intent and secret behind all the questions and I would like to review the “incorrect” answers and reasons why:

Our Answer
MGA Answer


4. In stroke play, Player A hits his tee shot, finds a ball he assumes to be his and plays that ball which ends up slightly closer to the hole than Player B’s second shot. As B is preparing to play his third shot, A asks him what club he used to play his second shot. A then realizes he has played a wrong ball. A returns to the area from which he played the wrong ball, finds his original ball after a one minute search, and plays the original ball into the hole in four more strokes. A’s score for the hole is:
A) 6
B) 7
C) 8
D)9

First, let’s agree that there are 5 “talent” strokes. So the debate here is between two or four penalty strokes. I will hand this one to the MGA, there is a great debate as to what penalties should stick when committed while playing a wrong ball. We are on one side of the debate, the MGA chose the other and in all honesty it has more support in the Rules. 

Here’s the debate:  Under Rules 3-3 and 20-7c we have a supporting decision 20-7c/5 that refers to “penalty strokes incurred solely by playing the ball Rules not to count.” That decision clarifies that there are certain penalties that do not go away when playing a second ball under 3-3 or 20-7c because the penalty cannot be affiliated with one ball or another. Penalties for practice, advice or playing a wrong ball do not go away even if it seems like the action should be affiliated with one ball over another.

We do not have the same verbiage or decision for when a player plays a wrong ball or plays from outside the teeing ground. There is a faction that believes that the similar philosophy should be applied and penalties for advice or practice should not go away if committed while playing a wrong ball (or playing a ball played from outside the teeing ground). We answered that way.  There is another faction that has those penalties go away because the only verbiage we get “Strokes made by a competitor with a wrong ball do not count in his score.” There is no decision to break the tie here. My argument is that, while we do not get any additional verbiage, what we do have says “strokes made by a competitor.” There is no reference to penalty strokes going away.

So there is no official answer to the question (unless someone on the RoG Committee wants to correct me because a decision has finally been made), but it is a great discussion point.


5. A and B are partners in a four-ball stroke play competition. A’s ball comes to rest in casual water. A’s caddie picks up the ball, hands it to B who places it 3 club-lengths behind the casual water at a spot that keeps the point where the ball lay between the spot where it is placed and the hole. A plays the ball. A incurs:
A) 1 penalty stroke.
B) 2 penalty strokes.
C) 3 penalty strokes.
D) 4 penalty strokes.

I disagree with the answer here, but I know how they got there.  The MGA assessed an additional penalty stroke for the caddie’s unauthorized lifting of the ball. Only 3 people may lift – the player, partner or person authorized by the player. The caddie was not authorized and generally would incur a one-stroke penalty under Rule 18-2.  However, we have other applicable circumstances where there is no penalty if another Rule applies that permits the ball to be lifted and played from somewhere else.

Specifically, Decision 26-1/9 tells us there is no penalty for a caddie lifting a ball from a water hazard without authority if it is clear the player will be proceeding under the water hazard Rule.  I believe the general consensus is the same for other Rules that allow the player to play from somewhere else (except for a ball unplayable which has its own Decision and reasoning). However, I grant the MGA that there is nothing in the Rules that states that specifically with regard to casual water or an abnormal ground condition and therefore the answer has technical merit.


6. In a stroke play event, Player A’s approach shot comes to rest on the putting green leaving him with a long 75-foot putt. Player B’s approach shot lands in a greenside bunker. A marks and lifts his ball, then reads his line of putt. B’s bunker shot comes to rest on the putting green, but he still has a 30-foot putt remaining. A reads his line of putt from the other side of the hole while B is cleaning up the bunker. Just as B finishes, A replaces his ball. A putts his ball and it apparently comes to rest, but is overhanging the hole. B, not paying attention, immediately walks up to his ball and putts it. B’s ball not only strikes A’s ball, deflecting it into the hole, but B’s ball follows it in as well. Unsure of how to proceed, the competitor’s agree that since both balls were holed, there is no issue and they proceed to tee off the next hole and complete the stipulated round. They inform the Committee of this situation prior to signing and returning their score cards. The Committee should rule:
A) Both players’ balls are considered holed and there is no penalty.
B) Player A’s ball is considered holed. Player B;s ball is considered holed and he is assessed a two-stroke penalty.
C) Player A is disqualified and Player B’s ball is considered holed and he is assessed a two-stroke penalty.
D) Both players should have replaced their balls and replayed their last strokes. As both players failed to hole out, they are both disqualified.

Here’s one where I say touché. Having the ball overhanging the hole threw us off. The trick is that although Rule 16-2 specifies a time where the Rules deem the ball to be at rest, nothing in that Rule say the ball is not at rest prior to that time limit.  We treated the ball as still moving and then proceeded as if 19-5b applied. Good fluff MGA!


9. In a match play event, a par-3 hole has its teeing ground located immediately behind a water hazard with an island putting green. A player’s tee shot lands on the greenside of the water hazard, rolls backwards, and is lost in the water hazard. He drops correctly under the water hazard rule, keeping the point at which the ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard between the hole and the place where he dropped a ball. In so doing he dropped the ball on the teeing ground. Realizing he could have re-teed his ball under the stroke and distance provision of the Rule, he lifts and tees his ball. He plays the teed ball onto the putting green. His first putt strikes his opponent’s ball lying on the putting green. He then completes the hole in one additional stroke. What is his score for the hole?
A) 5
B) 6
C) 7
D) 8

I believe there is some general disagreement in the Rules world about this particular situation. We applied four talent strokes and one penalty stroke under Rule 26-1.  The player essentially lucked out that they first dropped the ball on the teeing ground and they were entitled to put the ball somewhere else on the teeing ground.  But… he did drop the ball and a substituted ball becomes the ball in play when it has been dropped or placed (Rule 20-4). Since he played from the teeing ground next, lifting the ball was really stroke and distance and that’s where the MGA gets the additional penalty stroke. It’s a hard argument here and I’m not sure there is consensus at the highest levels as to whether this situation should be one penalty stroke or two.


24. During an individual stroke play event with the one ball condition in effect, Player A loses his second shot in a water hazard. He borrows a ball from Player B, inadvertently putting a different model ball (improper ball) into play properly under R26 and plays it into the fairway. Player C then points out the violation. Attempting to correct the error, A then goes back and drops a proper ball at the spot from which he had put the improper ball into play. He hits the proper ball into the rough near the improper ball. B suggests that under the one ball condition, A could have replaced the improper ball with a proper ball. A then lifts both the proper ball from the rough and the improper ball from the fairway. He places the proper ball at the spot the improper ball had previously come to rest in the fairway. He hits the proper ball onto the putting green and one-putts. A’s score for the hole is:
A) 8
B) 10
C) 11
D) 12


Well this one is just confusing right? We counted five talent strokes and six penalty strokes (26-1, LR, 27-1 and 18-2). How to get to 12? Well that’s simple… we miscounted. There are 6 talent strokes.  He hit the second shot into the water hazard. 3 played the improper ball. 4 played the proper ball. 5 played to green and 6 one-putted.  Whoops! D is the correct answer without argument here.

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