Originally Posted by David in FL
If anyone can show me anywhere in the rules where there is any differentiation between a "competitive" round and a "private/casual" round, I'll happily concede the point. It just feels to me that the drafters chose a specific verbiage to describe any round of golf, and where they intend for a differentiation between types of play (stroke vs match for example) they clearly indicate the differences. Where no such differentiation is spelled out, the rules apply equally to all.
Failing that, decision 7-1b/1 that was posted earlier clearly prohibits the practice highlighted above in stroke play.
It has already been posted, 3-1
Is that what happens in a casual, or as I prefer to call it, a private round? If I go out to play a round by myself, very few of those characteristics apply. There are no competitors. I can only play 13 holes and still have a score to post so stipulated round is out. I am not returning a scorecard. And there is no winner.
There is also this from the definition section:
The “Committee’’ is the committee in charge of the competition or, if the matter does not arise in a competition, the committee in charge of the course. (emphasis added)
Seems like this clearly admits of the possibility that there are situations wherein there is NO competition. IOW it sets up exactly that dichotomy of competition, non-competition that you asked for.
There are also clearly places in the rules where the presumption of a competition does not apply. There are a variety of ways that a player can get DQed. But what does that mean in the case of a private round? Does DQ mean the score of that round cannot be posted for HC? Clearly not, as the handicap rules allow (indeed mandate) for the posting of a round where rules breaches occurred that would have resulted in a DQ in a competitive round.
Say someone hits a ball OB and does the lateral drop thing. The rules say that it is hitting a wrong ball and unless corrected will result in a DQ. Yet the handicap rule allows (even mandates) that a score be posted for that round if the rules were otherwise followed for the whole round.
In the scenario that I gave where I played a few holes as the tail end of a shotgun start and then "started" my real round do you think it is allowable or not allowable to post the round for handicap?
It seems to me that there are, what I will call, internal rules of the game that govern the actual play of the game, and external rules of the game, that do not involve the play itself but the surrounding conditions. An example of an internal rule would be what you do when you hit OB. An example of an external rule would be the rule requiring the Committee to provide each competitor with a scorecard containing the competitor's name and date. I don't know about you, but when I go out to play by myself no one gives me a scorecard with my name and the date on it. And I even post the round for handicap without signing the scorecard.
So CLEARLY there are rules which simply do not apply to private rounds. Maybe that is an argument for the British handicap model where on rounds that ARE in a competition count for handicap.
But I am just saying, and I think I have demonstrated, that there are rules that, by their very nature, ONLY apply to actual competitions. Now I know that opens up the danger of people abusing that concept by ignoring what I have called internal rules on the basis that they are not in a actual formal competition. But in most cases it is easy to distinguish a rule that makes no sense for a private competition. Maybe a good rule of thumb would be any rule whose penalty is disqualification but the breach of which would not prevent the round from being posted for handicap purposes? Because disqualification implies you are being disqualified from something. And in a private round what are you being disqualified from? You are not disqualified from posting for handicap purposes, according to the provisions of the Handicap Manual. I would also argue that anything that happens before the round or after the round would be an external rule.
The question then is whether the practice rule is one that applies only to formal competitions. And I think the answer comes in the penalty that applies, which is automatic DQ. What is the significance of an automatic DQ in a private round? Does it make the round not eligible for posting for handicap? I don't think so. Another reason to think that the practice rule applies only to formal competitions is that there is a completely different rule for practice during a round, There we have the kind of penalty, loss of hole or 2 strokes, that can apply to any round, competitive or private. It is, in my jargon, an internal rule not an external rule.
And when we consider the rationale for the pre-round practice rule, which I think is the correct rationale, it makes no sense in the case of a private round. If you and I go out to play together why should what we do before the round be governed by what our intent is regarding what kind of play we will engage in. We might just play side by side with no competition. We might have a competition between us two at stroke play. We might have a competition between us two at match play. We might not even decide until right before the opening tee shot. Yet that decision governs something we might have done a half hour before we even decided to play together? Does that make sense?
As to the decision that has been cited, it is clearly in the context of an actual formal competition, so I do not think it really bears on the argument I am making. Parenthetically I am puzzled by the statement in that decision that the Committee would be justified in modifying the penalty of DQ under 33-7. I don't see what the "exceptional individual case" is that would justify waiving DQ.
Edited by turtleback - 7/4/13 at 1:17pm