Saturday, September 30, 2017

President's Cup Ruling

Here's a written explanation of what just occurred at the President's Cup:

On the 12th hole, Louis Oosthuizen had a chip shot (putt from off the putting green) that was well passed the hole when Jordan Spieth stopped and scooped the ball up while it was still in motion.

The argument is that there was no possibility of this ball going into the hole and the United States had already conceded a birdie to the International team and Oosthuizen could no longer make a birdie or better once his ball passed the hole.

There is one problem, the ball was still in motion. A player is not permitted to exert influence on the movement of a ball while it is still in motion. Even if you say that Spieth was conceding the next stroke, a concession may not be made while the ball is still in motion. It has to come to rest.

The Rule in question is Rule 1-2 which is an intent-based Rule. Spieth clearly did not intend anything untoward, however he did intend to influence the ball in motion by stopping and lifting it (unaware that doing so would be a penalty because of the certainty that the ball would no longer have an impact on the hole).  The penalty for a breach of Rule 1-2 is loss of hole in match play.  Because the format is four-ball match play and this breach did not assist Spieth’s partner, the result is that Spieth was disqualified from the hole – so the birdie putt he had remaining no longer mattered.

I realize this does not seem fair or sensible given that there was no ill-will and the action had no effect on the result of the hole (other than the penalty of course). But the Rule is clear, you need to let the ball come to rest, you cannot influence the movement of a ball in motion.

For those wondering why Rule 19-3 does not apply, Rule 19-3 applies to when a ball is accidentally stopped or deflected. Spieth's stopping of the ball was clearly not accidental and therefore Rule 1-2 must be applied.

1 comment:

  1. My question is, what does "with the intent of affecting the playing of a hole" mean in this context? I'm among the usual supporters of rulings no matter how unpopular . . . but this doesn't make sense to me.