As happens so often, situations arise while I'm playing that cause me to wonder "what if this happened, how would I handle it?" And since the answer is usually, "I have no idea," I turn to you guys.
The scenario: On a par 3, I yanked my tee shot left into some heavy brush. It didn't appear to be marked as a hazard, and as it was quite likely the ball was gone. So I played a provisional, which I hit OK, leaving myself a putt for bogey. When I got to the green, I made a cursory effort to find the ball, basically looking in the grass just outside of the brush hoping it trickled out and I'd be able to play it without a penalty. Once I realized that it wasn't on the grass, I gave up looking. Now, while on the green, watching others putt and waiting for my turn - and still within the 5 minute search period - I am standing there leaning against my putter and enjoying the scenery. I'm just glancing around at the view, and I turn towards where I had been looking for my ball and it dawns on me ... what if I see a ball in the brush up there, or what looks like a ball? Am I required to go and try to identify it?
If I was required to go identify it, and it was mine, then I'd have to abandon the provisional and either take an unplayable drop somewhere over there, or go re-tee again. Neither of those scenarios appealed to me so I decided to avoid looking in that direction until the hole was over. :)
A slightly un-related question, but I think this one just has a yes or no answer and doesn't really deserve its own thread so ...
I hit a drive into heavy brush (this is a recurring theme with me :)) and I don't think it's a hazard, so I play a provisional from the tee. I declared it as a provisional specifically because I thought that was not a hazard. Well, it turns out that I was wrong, and it was, in fact, a hazard. We determined that since the ball was definitely in a hazard and not OB, then the provisional had to be abandoned and, thus, I proceeded as normal for a lateral hazard, dropping at the point of entry. Was that the correct procedure? Or is there some punishment required for playing a provisional for a ball that was in a hazard?
Edited by Golfingdad - 6/28/13 at 1:43pm