Originally Posted by MEfree
How is one to be certain that they did not cause the ball to move? Other than the fact that I had marked and then replaced the ball, it seems similar to the situation a few weeks ago when Rory`s ball settled down in the rough after he took a practice swing.
It is a question of fact as to whether a player has caused the ball to move. All available evidence must be wieghed. Proximity of practice swings, wind, slope, speed of green, etc.
Here, I had a downhill putt and the ball moved forward (down) maybe 1/4 of a ball. Like with Rory, gravity and the weight of the ball causing grass to compress were likely the main causes, but it is possible that light wind and/or vibrations from stepping/swinging could have also played a roll.
Being that I replaced the ball, it sounds like the most favorable ruling would be if I caused it to move and thus incurred a 1 stroke penalty, right?
IF it was determined that you had caused the ball to move, yes 1PS.
OTOH, If I didn`t cause it to move, then I am looking at a 2 stroke penalty for replacing the ball as that is what I did. At least I didn`t ground my club before 3 putting and risk incurring another penalty.
If you had grounded your club, you would have been deemed to cause the ball to move, no way out of that unless wind moved the ball so 1PS if you replace the ball, 2PS if you do not. Likewise, if you had not grounded your club or caused the ball to move.......2PS for returning the ball to it's original positon and playing it from there.
So if you were the rules official, what would your ruling be? Do I hit the green in regulation and make double or triple?
Hard to rule without seeing the green, however if you were on a slop and made practice swings near the ball that touched the green I think a breach of rule 18-2a is likely, 1PS as long as you replace your ball.
Also, instead of having the complicated rules/rulings related to this, what would be the problem with the following:
On the PUTTING GREEN, Assuming you did not TOUCH the ball:
Replace it if it moves after you mark it.
Play it from where it ends up if you did not mark it.
If you touch the ball and it moves, count the stroke and play it as it lies if it was with you club and replace it and take a 1 stroke penalty if you touched it with something other than your club.
"Touching" seems a like more clear cut than "causing" and on the green you don`t have all the other factors that you do from various lies through the green.