Originally Posted by luu5
Originally Posted by Fourputt
I've seen a ball hit a tree on the right side of the fairway, and after a 5 minute search under the tree, the player returns to the tee, plays his 3rd stroke, then on his way back up to his second ball, he finds the original ball in the left rough, 75 yards from the tree the ball hit. I always search farther afield than seems reasonable in a situation where an odd bounce may have occurred. Making the assumption that the ball is in the hazard without actually doing a full search and lacking any real evidence that the ball was in the hazard, I don't quite see why he should gain from such an assumption. Just because his group "agrees" that it is in the hazard doesn't make it so, nor does that make it "known or virtually certain".
I find it little bit odd that you do not approve OPs story about the search being "full". You were not there, nor were I.
I assume you did not read the quote from Decisions I attached earlier:
Unlike “knowledge,” “virtual certainty” implies some small degree of doubt about the actual location of a ball that has not been found. However, “virtual certainty” also means that, although the ball has not been found, when all readily available information is considered, the conclusion that there is nowhere that the ball could be except in the water hazard would be justified.
I read all of it. My contention is that, despite their feeling, they did not do a thorough search of all the possible lines that the ball could have taken or they would have found it. As I said, I've seen a ball kick off a mound exactly like this ball must have, and I would have taken that possibility into consideration. When I see a ball land in a mounded area, I don't assume that it continued straight ahead - quite the opposite. From the way the hole was described, I'd have at least made a quick walk around the perimeter of the green just to be sure. It's like when a player loses sight of a ball on an approach shot, looks in the rough all around the green, then low and behold, the ball is found in the hole. In my mind and in my experience, the fact that the ball landed in a mounded area removed the "virtual certainty" that the ball was in the hazard until a search included the entire area around the green.
As you say, I wasn't there and neither were you, so neither one of us is in a position to make an absolute ruling. I'm just throwing out possibilities based on 40 years of seeing weird bounces on the golf course.
In the end the question here was not if there was virtual certainty of the ball being in WH. The question was how to proceed when the original ball was found not to be in the WH after completing the hole.
There was nothing more to be done in this case as a ball had already been played under a rule with the assumption that they were correct. The original ball was lost. I still feel that the question is whether or not virtual certainty was actually established before continuing under Rule 26-1, but I'm being outvoted.