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A rules question! - Page 2  

post #19 of 35

Re: A rules question!

Originally Posted by granitegolf View Post
Several use it on Tour so I would say it has passed the rules test.
That's beside the point and not what the OP was asking. I'm assuming the OP knows how to use it (he hasn't said anything to indicate otherwise).

He's asking what the rule is if he puts the marker down, picks up his ball, and goes back and notices that he somehow put the marker down so it was pointing way offline - can he go up and, without putting the ball back down, twist the marker so it's pointing more towards the general area in which he'd like to start the ball.

Originally Posted by zeg View Post
Intentionally moving it doesn't seem to me as a reasonable extension of marking the ball.
Rotating about the same "place" does not meet the USGA's definition of "moved." The ball marker remains in the same "place."

Furthermore, if you do move the ball marker in changing its rotation, is marking a point with your finger or a grain of sand sufficient - like marking the spot with the toe of your putter when you need to move the ball marker sideways?

Originally Posted by zeg View Post
My implication was that being accidental is a necessary
I got it now. "Accidentally" seems to be key in those situations, yes.

However, a player can still claim:

a) that he had properly marked the position of the ball mark and was moving it (like you're allowed to do when asked to move your ball mark to the side of a player's intended putting line). He could do that with a small rock or a grain of sand, remember.

b) that he was attempting to rotate the ball mark or even to tap it down and it moved accidentally. Rotation isn't "movement."

In case b, you might suggest that the mere act of "touching" the mark, like touching the ball to rotate it without a mark, is enough to penalize you. I would say that it seems not to be, since you're allowed to touch the mark while brushing away loose impediments. The mark is not the same as the position of the ball, nor is it the same as the ball itself.

Originally Posted by zeg View Post
Sure, and I think it's important that the purpose is to keep the marker from moving.
Some players tap down their ball markers out of habit and have no real purpose. Why would a coin start to move on a green? Intent is not a factor in the rules (except intent to hit the ball - the definition of "stroke," I believe).

Originally Posted by zeg View Post
IMO that is just so that you don't have to get into unresolvable arguments about whether the ball moved.
Such situations exist elsewhere in the Rules and require knowledge of whether the ball "moved" or not.

Originally Posted by zeg View Post
I think your point does show that you can't just treat the marker like it's the ball, the rules are different: you can touch the "in play" marker under some conditions.
Yes, but one of those conditions where contact is allowed is when you're in the act of marking, and the Rules and Decisions clearly define that even something as simple as putting your finger on a ball marker is deemed to be the same as "marking."

Originally Posted by zeg View Post
Well, I think there are ways within the rules to accomplish this-- move your mark according to the normal practice, brush away, and return. Or just re-mark with your toe...
Or the ball, which is again what I do.

Originally Posted by zeg View Post
Of course, this is all sort of a silly argument-- the whole existence of marking/moving marks/replacing is sort of a joke. The rule says that the ball must be replaced exactly where it started, which we all know is impossible. In practice I'd probaby never notice if someone did this, and I certainly wouldn't demand a penalty. Still, it seems to me like the rule ought to be that you just don't touch the mark unless you need to.
Yes, my interest in this is a purely intellectual one, since I'm certain I've not broken this rule, and I wouldn't accuse anyone of breaking this rule unless their idea of "rotating" is to move the marker perceptibly. I'm curious where it shakes out.

Note that the OP said he'd rotate the ball marker - not move it and rotate it. I think that may be a key difference (though in reality, like our inability to put the ball back "exactly" in the same spot, it may be an irrelevant difference too).

Try this one on for size: what if a guy goes to tap down his ball marker with his hands, but sneezes as he does so and knocks the ball marker away. Is that situation synonymous with the "sticks to your putter while tapping it down" Decision, or does it fall under the "sticks to your foot" type of Decision? I'd say the former. So then how is this rotating the ball marker when it doesn't even actually move (as defined) become more like the second type?

I think I've laid out my case... Frankly, I'm nearly 51/49 on the way this goes, and that slight difference is largely due to my understanding of equity. The guy's not trying to cheat here, and if he purposefully tries not to "move" the location of the spot he's marked, I think it's okay.
post #20 of 35
Thread Starter 

Re: A rules question!

Originally Posted by iacas View Post
That's beside the point and not what the OP was asking. I'm assuming the OP knows how to use it (he hasn't said anything to indicate otherwise).
Well- I was the original poster:)

I do know how to use it but often last week I found myself inside and on the same line as another player and also last to the green as I was walking and also the longest off the tee so the last to approach.

When I approached my ball the player was almost ready to putt so I quickly but without getting near their line put down my ball mark and stepped aside. I was often off by more than 45 degrees when this occurred so I needed to adjust the ball mark and then step back and dial in the micro adjustment and then place my ball. Hence the original question.

Iacas- Thanks for all the well thought out responses.
post #21 of 35

Re: A rules question!

I have a few more comments to make on this.

1) I know that I'm correct in that moving the marker as the OP suggested is a breach, for the reasons I stated earlier. Moving the mark in such a manner can in no way be considered part of the act of marking the ball. Tapping the mark down with the putter is specifically allowed as part of the process, and since it is specifically mentioned, it is exempt from penalty.

2) Erik mentioned that it would be a penalty if you dropped the marker and it moved the ball. It is equally a penalty if you drop the ball and the marker moves.

3) Although the rules allow you to use something like a hat to mark your ball, it is still the player's responsibility to replace his ball exactly on the correct spot. Using an object as large as a hat puts that required precision to question. I know that if I had to make such a ruling, I would question the player's ability to do so.

Nothing I've read here changes anything about the original question. The player is in breach if he moves his mark with nothing to ensure that the ball can be replaced correctly. And that rectangular SC marker can easily be rotated such a way that the ball would not be replaced in the same spot. A player could actually rotate it enough in such a way as to avoid a spike mark that might be directly in front of the ball. I'm not saying that this is the OP's intent, but allowing such an act is opening a can of worms that would better remain closed. I even question that a player could move that mark a putter head to the side to avoid another players line and still replace it correctly. That sort of tool requires correct orientation as well as being moved back the correct distance.

In my experience, amateur players tend to be rather lackadaisical about marking and replacing the ball in the green. It usually isn't enough of a breach to have any effect on the outcome, so it isn't something I'm all that concerned about. But doing something as obviously improper as moving the marker when there is nothing placed as a reference is simply wrong.
post #22 of 35

Re: A rules question!

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
1) I know that I'm correct in that moving the marker as the OP suggested is a breach, for the reasons I stated earlier.
He never said he moved the marker. He said he rotated it. He specifically said he didn't change the location of the ball marker.

The onus is on the player to put the ball back in the correct position. If he rotates his ball marker so that he has to position the ball differently than the way it was first, that's his responsibility, but rotating the marker doesn't automatically mean he can't do that.

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
Tapping the mark down with the putter is specifically allowed as part of the process, and since it is specifically mentioned, it is exempt from penalty.
As is putting your fingers on it to brush away loose impediments.

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
I know that if I had to make such a ruling, I would question the player's ability to do so.
Yet in the end, you'd have to take the player's word for it. If you put a quarter down behind your ball but slightly to the side, it's possible that a golfer might put the ball down nearly an inch away from its actual spot (or at least a centimeter). We can't measure and aren't expected to measure down to microns or something - we're simply asked to try to put the ball back on the "same" general spot.

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
Nothing I've read here changes anything about the original question.
So you say. I still disagree, particularly since your definition of "moved" is different than the USGA's.

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
The player is in breach if he moves his mark with nothing to ensure that the ball can be replaced correctly.
For which something as simple as a grain of sand would suffice. Furthermore, the player hasn't moved his ball marker. He was specific about that earlier - he rotates it in place.

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
And that rectangular SC marker can easily be rotated such a way that the ball would not be replaced in the same spot.
So can a quarter, as I've pointed out. You've seen people mark their balls - not everyone puts the coin exactly behind the ball lining up the center of the ball, hole, and quarter. Yet when they put the ball back they tend to line it up that way. They've not put the ball back in the same exact spot.

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
A player could actually rotate it enough in such a way as to avoid a spike mark that might be directly in front of the ball.
No, you're assuming the player, when he puts his ball back down on the green, puts it in a different spot.

Assuming the player is aware of the fact that he's rotated the marker, he'd still be responsible for putting the ball back in the proper spot - the same location on the green but in a new position relative to the marker.

These are two different acts - marking the position of the ball and replacing the ball. I can mark with a quarter beside the ball and then replace the ball in front of the coin, and I've committed the same penalty. The penalty there isn't on placing the coin - but in replacing the ball on the wrong spot.

You can scratch a line on the green to mark the location of the spot of the ball. But what if you put the ball on the wrong spot on the line - like the left end of the line instead of the right end? The penalty isn't for drawing a line - it's for putting the ball in the wrong spot.

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
I even question that a player could move that mark a putter head to the side to avoid another players line and still replace it correctly.
Yet the rules clearly allow that, and it happens thousands of times per day, and at the highest levels of the game, too.

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
But doing something as obviously improper as moving the marker when there is nothing placed as a reference is simply wrong.
Again, a grain of sand or a clipped blade of grass is all you need, and again, he hasn't "moved" the marker per the Definitions.

Here's one for you, FourPutt. I walk up to the green, carefully place my Cameron Ball marker down to the right side of the ball so it's pointing straight to the left, and pick up the ball. I walk away and come back to see I see a small rock right there on the green almost exactly where my ball came to rest. Or a tiny dead ant. Or whatever. Under the rules, THAT can then mark my ball, and I can pick up and rotate and move my Cameron marker all I want. So I do, and maybe I replace it on the left side because I forgot that my superstition says it should be on the left side today because it's a Tuesday. No rules broken there. Might look kind of shady, but no rules broken. I never let the little bug out of my sight and if I happened to sneeze or something, or blink, I can still locate it.

The rules for how you can maintain the "mark" - Decision 20-1/16 - are pretty vague. The end point is that the golfer is able to put the ball back roughly (within very tight tolerances, but not so tight that they're impractical or impossible) on the correct spot. That's the goal of marking. If the player can do that, then I don't think a rule has been broken. The rules are so forgiving that they even let some dumbass who gets his marker stuck to his putter and walks away off the hook without a penalty, and you know he's not putting the ball back exactly where it was.

Like I said, I'm still 51/49 (ok, maybe 55/45) on this. I could see it going either way. But I'm going to keep arguing this side until we get a decision I believe, and the three people I emailed will provide at least a 2-1 consensus. Hopefully nobody abstains.
post #23 of 35

Re: A rules question!

Originally Posted by iacas View Post
He never said he moved the marker. He said he rotated it. He specifically said he didn't change the location of the ball marker.
Since it is not allowed to do the same thing with the ball, why would you think that it's ok with the marker? By not allowing it in the first place, you guarantee that he won't move it.


Originally Posted by iacas View Post
As is putting your fingers on it to brush away loose impediments.
Even if you move it, or the ball when removing loose impediments it isn't a penalty, because it is a specifically allowed exception. Rotating the ball or the marker is not listed in the exceptions.



Originally Posted by iacas View Post
Yet in the end, you'd have to take the player's word for it. If you put a quarter down behind your ball but slightly to the side, it's possible that a golfer might put the ball down nearly an inch away from its actual spot (or at least a centimeter). We can't measure and aren't expected to measure down to microns or something - we're simply asked to try to put the ball back on the "same" general spot.
And I already said that it is common for amateurs to fudge this rule. I'm personally more careful than the average player, but that is just me. I'd bet that you could conceivably call a penalty on most casual players on almost every green. That doesn't make it right, just isn't that important in those situations. The rule requires precision... the reality is that it is nearly impossible to achieve that precision. As long as the player makes and honest attempt at it, then no foul should be called. Moving the ball without marking it, and moving the marker without any proper reference point are not considered as being an honest attempt because there is an easy way to remove all doubt.


Originally Posted by iacas View Post


Here's one for you, FourPutt. I walk up to the green, carefully place my Cameron Ball marker down to the right side of the ball so it's pointing straight to the left, and pick up the ball. I walk away and come back to see I see a small rock right there on the green almost exactly where my ball came to rest. Or a tiny dead ant. Or whatever. Under the rules, THAT can then mark my ball, and I can pick up and rotate and move my Cameron marker all I want. So I do, and maybe I replace it on the left side because I forgot that my superstition says it should be on the left side today because it's a Tuesday. No rules broken there. Might look kind of shady, but no rules broken. I never let the little bug out of my sight and if I happened to sneeze or something, or blink, I can still locate it.
The rule allows the USE of such objects, but the rule also says that it should be PLACED, not just used a reference wherever it happens to lie.

Originally Posted by iacas View Post
The rules for how you can maintain the "mark" - Decision 20-1/16 - are pretty vague. The end point is that the golfer is able to put the ball back roughly (within very tight tolerances, but not so tight that they're impractical or impossible) on the correct spot. That's the goal of marking. If the player can do that, then I don't think a rule has been broken. The rules are so forgiving that they even let some dumbass who gets his marker stuck to his putter and walks away off the hook without a penalty, and you know he's not putting the ball back exactly where it was.

Like I said, I'm still 51/49 (ok, maybe 55/45) on this. I could see it going either way. But I'm going to keep arguing this side until we get a decision I believe, and the three people I emailed will provide at least a 2-1 consensus. Hopefully nobody abstains.
My point still is that the rule is not as flexible or vague on this as you seem to think it is. There is a procedure in place for the acts of marking, lifting, and replacing. By using that procedure it is easy to ensure that an honest effort has been made to adhere to the ideal of replacing the ball exactly where it originally lay, even if the reality is that the ball may be a millimeter off. Shortcutting any of the outlined procedure removes some portion of that insurance. The rules always take a dim view of such shortcuts. A player might get away with this for a long time, but someday run into a rules stickler and get called on it. Then, lacking any clear decision to refer to, it will up to the competition committee to make a ruling. I certainly wouldn't want a tournament or match to ride on the outcome.
post #24 of 35

Re: A rules question!

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
Since it is not allowed to do the same thing with the ball, why would you think that it's ok with the marker?
The ball isn't the marker nor is the marker a 100% stand-in for the ball.

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
Even if you move it, or the ball when removing loose impediments it isn't a penalty, because it is a specifically allowed exception. Rotating the ball or the marker is not listed in the exceptions.
I've already addressed this.

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
As long as the player makes and honest attempt at it, then no foul should be called.
Exactly.

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
and moving the marker
Again, he didn't move it.

Again, the list of things that qualifies as a marker that are likely to already exist on a green is pretty large.

And finally, again, the goal of a marker is to be able to put the ball back in the same spot. You can move the marker all sorts of directions so long as you keep the frame of reference for where the ball is.

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
without any proper reference point are not considered as being an honest attempt because there is and easy way to remove all doubt.
Rotate without moving, he said. The reference point could be the hole, as in "the ball goes directly in front of the marker in line with the hole."

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
The rule allows the USE of such objects, but the rule also says that it should be PLACED, not just used a reference wherever it happens to lie.
Yet if my ball happened to come to rest right beside a rock that was already sitting on the green, I'm allowed to use that rock as my reference. The rules don't say you need to place the reference.

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
My point still is that the rule is not as flexible or vague on this as you seem to think it is.
You mean to say that you think the rule is not as flexible. Again, you also seem to think he's "moved" the marker, and I contend he hasn't under the definitions. If I spin a quarter in place have I moved it? I still know exactly where the mark is - right on the front side of the quarter.

The goal of a marker is to allow the player to put the ball back in the same spot. That's the entire goal of having a marker. So long as you aren't violating that, I don't know that there's a problem. As I've said, the rules allow for accidents where the guy can't possibly know exactly where the ball was originally - so I find it hard to believe that someone purposefully maintaining the same position is definitely a penalty.

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
The rules always take a dim view of such shortcuts.
Yet excuse the moron who gets a marker stuck to his putter. C'mon, dude, surely you can see why I'm not entirely on board (55/45) with that.

Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
I certainly wouldn't want a tournament or match to ride on the outcome.
Which is why I don't do it - but that doesn't change the nature of this discussion.

You've said your bit, I've said mine. Let's give it a break and wait to see what people say.
post #25 of 35

Re: A rules question!

Very interesting argument. While I dont think the answer will really affect anyones game, and surely wont affect mine, I can see both sides.
Iacas, any answers from the rules guys yet?
post #26 of 35

Re: A rules question!

Originally Posted by 14ledo81 View Post
Iacas, any answers from the rules guys yet?
No. Kind of annoyed. But it's a funny time of year with the holidays and everything.
post #27 of 35

Re: A rules question!

To be honest, I just read the threads where iacas posts a lot to see the infamous multi-quote response.

On another note, I agree with iacas.
post #28 of 35

Re: A rules question!

It is FINE to rotate the marker.

The penalty would be for not replacing the ball correctly, NOT for the marker being rotated. Once the ball has been marked, it's MARKED. You must put it back properly.
post #29 of 35

Re: A rules question!

Ok, I'm going to throw in an opinion that hasn't yet been mentioned.

All this obsessive aligning and marking and realigning and remarking and positioning the ball using the cheater line etc., TAKES TOO FREAKING LONG!

Next time you are playing, chuck that SC marker into the nearest lake (before one of your playing partners does) and get on with it.

(This has been a public service announcement)
post #30 of 35
Thread Starter 

Re: A rules question!

That is the whole point. The scotty tool saves you time. I'm almost never the last one ready and my alignment, putt and hole out is almost always faster than everyone I play with. If you make the putt then it saves you that much more time.
Focusing on the line and speed saves so much time overall. I played today with three OK players and I could not believe how long they took on their putts and they did not even mark their balls. Then they would miss their putts by so much they had to step away and wait for the next to putt and so on and so on.
post #31 of 35

Re: A rules question!

Originally Posted by right handed phil mickelson View Post
To be honest, I just read the threads where iacas posts a lot to see the infamous multi-quote response.
haha, very true.
post #32 of 35

Re: A rules question!

Originally Posted by granitegolf View Post
That is the whole point. The scotty tool saves you time. I'm almost never the last one ready and my alignment, putt and hole out is almost always faster than everyone I play with. If you make the putt then it saves you that much more time.
Focusing on the line and speed saves so much time overall. I played today with three OK players and I could not believe how long they took on their putts and they did not even mark their balls. Then they would miss their putts by so much they had to step away and wait for the next to putt and so on and so on.
How does it save you time? And what do people with round markers focus on instead of the line and speed that makes us so slow?
post #33 of 35

Re: A rules question!

OK, the folks got back to me. They weren't as conclusive as I'd like, but I've still come to a conclusion.

One person said it was a penalty. He said that unless it was accidental or moving it because it interferes, you're penalized.

The second said it wasn't a penalty because the player would be capable of noting the spot and putting the ball back on it, and the spot is what's important. He said that unlike someone saying "I'll remember the spot" and walking away [I think he means no marker at all], it's reasonable to assume that a guy staring at the spot and making a tiny adjustment could keep the spot.

The third said basically what I said: that there's no penalty if he marks the mark (like you do with the putter when you move your mark to the side), but said that the player would be unlikely to do so in this case, so he'd penalize most of the time unless the guy could demonstrate that he'd used a small rock or even a tee or something like I had suggested. He said the "best thing to do is to mark your mark by just putting the damn ball back and re-marking it, not doing all this jiggery stuff."

Which, yeah, is what I do in practice.

So in the end, I'm going with what I do in reality and not the side I was arguing: this would be a penalty.

Notes:
  • The type of marker is irrelevant. It doesn't matter if it's a small round coin or if it's a plumber's wrench.
  • Nobody that replied to me was 100% certain (i.e. it had come up and been discussed at a Rules session or something), but they were all 90% certain how they'd handle it.
  • I wasn't ever comfortable - my indications of 55% might have even been overstated - with the side I was taking, but I felt it was worth a discussion, so I took up that side. Academic fun. The response from the officials I talked to indicate that it's not an open-and-shut case for them. I'd feel bad if I had debated something that wasn't worthy of any debate.
  • One of them talked about possibly mentioning the concept of "marking your mark" with the guys that write the rules. He said that's not the clearest section of the rules. Ostensibly, he said, with two coins you could keep marking your mark until you were two feet or two yards or whatever away, and that doesn't seem right. But he admits to the bit about moving your ball mark two putter lengths to the side. But that's neither here nor there for this topic.

Hope that clears things up. I consider "that would be against the rules and you would be penalized" the final answer.

PM me if you see any need at all to re-open.
post #34 of 35

Re: A rules question!

Originally Posted by iacas View Post
One person said it was a penalty. He said that unless it was accidental or moving it because it interferes, you're penalized.
This person later said "I discussed this with Ryan Gregg, who is the Director of Rules Education at the NCGA and we both concur that just moving the marker is a problem. But, we agree that if you were to put your finger on the green to mark the location of the ball or take some other action that leaves a mark in place while you rotated the Cameron marker you would be ok."

So that again somewhat muddies the waters...

His post is the one that mentions equity, too. But still the true answer remains the same: put the ball back and just re-mark. Don't do all this jiggery stuff.
post #35 of 35

Re: A rules question!

One more clarification. One rules official just made a new post: http://freedrop.wordpress.com/2010/0...er-discussion/ .

Source: Free Drop
I asked John Morrissett about the discussion regarding rotating a Cameron ball marker without replacing the ball. He concurred that it would be a penalty to do so without replacing the ball or marking its position in some other way. He also agreed that putting ones finger down to mark the location would be ok.



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