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Ball falls off tee DURING players swing?

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

Today, on the 4th tee, my opponent's ball fell off the tee during his swing- he saw it fall and would have liked to stop his swing, but couldn't and hit driver off the deck about 50 yards.  What is the ruling?  If it makes a difference, it probably started to fall during his back swing, but he was no Tiger Woods and couldn't hold up in time.

post #2 of 38

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

Today, on the 4th tee, my opponent's ball fell off the tee during his swing- he saw it fall and would have liked to stop his swing, but couldn't and hit driver off the deck about 50 yards.  What is the ruling?  If it makes a difference, it probably started to fall during his back swing, but he was no Tiger Woods and couldn't hold up in time.

The stroke counts and he must play the ball as it lies (Decision 14/1.5).

post #3 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

Today, on the 4th tee, my opponent's ball fell off the tee during his swing- he saw it fall and would have liked to stop his swing, but couldn't and hit driver off the deck about 50 yards.  What is the ruling?  If it makes a difference, it probably started to fall during his back swing, but he was no Tiger Woods and couldn't hold up in time.

You do know that the rules and decisions are easily found on-line, right? a3_biggrin.gif


http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Rules-of-Golf/Decision-14/#14/1.5
post #4 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post

You do know that the rules and decisions are easily found on-line, right? a3_biggrin.gif

http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Rules-of-Golf/Decision-14/#14/1.5

 

Kind of differs with a ruling Paula Creamer got a few years ago.

 

I argue in that thread that intent matters, and Paula seemed to lack the intent. I'd support someone making an obvious attempt to miss the ball (even if they still hit the ball), and the Rules Official seems to have gone that way as well, but it's against the way the rules are written.

 

I wish more had been written about the Paula Creamer situation, because it would be an interesting benchmark case.

 

A strict reading of the rules would say the ball's in play. I was inclined to side with Paula - if the player makes an obvious attempt to check the swing - but the clarity the current rule provides appeals more to me now.

post #5 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

Kind of differs with a ruling Paula Creamer got a few years ago.

I argue in that thread that intent matters, and Paula seemed to lack the intent. I'd support someone making an obvious attempt to miss the ball (even if they still hit the ball), and the Rules Official seems to have gone that way as well, but it's against the way the rules are written.

I wish more had been written about the Paula Creamer situation, because it would be an interesting benchmark case.

A strict reading of the rules would say the ball's in play. I was inclined to side with Paula - if the player makes an obvious attempt to check the swing - but the clarity the current rule provides appeals more to me now.

I don't disagree. I was actually a bit surprised to find the verbiage in that decision.
post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post


You do know that the rules and decisions are easily found on-line, right? a3_biggrin.gif


http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Rules-of-Golf/Decision-14/#14/1.5

 

I have looked up the rules online many times, but sometimes the trick is figuring out which one applies.

 

The decision you guys quoted involves a player who begins his downswing with the intent to strike the ball...what if his intent to strike the ball ceased during the back swing (but he was unable to stop)?

 

According to 11-3 it would count IF A STROKE WAS MADE.  For a stroke to be made, you have to intend to hit the ball with a forward movement of the club.  It seems to me, that his intention stopped before the club started forward, so no stroke was made.  Seems more analogous to accidentally striking the ball with a practice swing.  What rule applies?  Seems like his ball was not in play, so maybe he doesn't have to count it as rule 18 talks about a ball being in play. 

 

To me this seems like a tricky situation that is worthy of discussion (even if it does not happen all that often).  The Paula Creamer decision seems exactly on point. I am glad that I let my opponent re tee without penalty.

post #7 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

The Paula Creamer decision seems exactly on point. I am glad that I let my opponent re tee without penalty.

 

That ruling is not something to be relied on course. It was one ruling given by one RO in one round of golf, not to be used as a precedent. I bet RO did not consult the Decisions.

post #8 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

I have looked up the rules online many times, but sometimes the trick is figuring out which one applies.

The decision you guys quoted involves a player who begins his downswing with the intent to strike the ball...what if his intent to strike the ball ceased during the back swing (but he was unable to stop)?

According to 11-3 it would count IF A STROKE WAS MADE.  For a stroke to be made, you have to intend to hit the ball with a forward movement of the club.  It seems to me, that his intention stopped before the club started forward, so no stroke was made.  Seems more analogous to accidentally striking the ball with a practice swing.  What rule applies?  Seems like his ball was not in play, so maybe he doesn't have to count it as rule 18 talks about a ball being in play. 

That's why we have decisions to clarify individual situations. In this case, the decision is clear that the stroke counted.

Again though, it surprised me too......
post #9 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post


That's why we have decisions to clarify individual situations. In this case, the decision is clear that the stroke counted.

Again though, it surprised me too......

Which decision is clear that the stroke counted?  I see one saying that if the player starts the downswing with the intention of hitting the ball, but changes their mind, it counts if they hit the ball but not if they don't?  Where is the decision that addresses a player whose intention to hit the ball stops BEFORE they start their downswing (aka stroke)?  Did something come out after the Creamer thread, because everyone was pretty split over there with Erik and some others feeling that the rules official made the CORRECT decision.  http://thesandtrap.com/t/69563/ball-falls-off-tee-during-players-swing#post_888936  I agree with Erik's logic unless the definition of a stroke is changed. 

 

Most of us don't have long pauses at the top of our swing so if we see the ball fall off the tee just before reaching transition, very few of us would be able to stop even if we no longer want to hit the ball.

post #10 of 38

By the book, the RO gave the wrong ruling, as did MEfree (especially if the ball fell off during the backswing). That much is very clear.

 

And I think my opinion changed on Paula Creamer's situation. Check your swing. If you're unable to, tough shit. Learn to tee up a ball better or something. :P There's no real way to assess intent when they still make contact with the ball. If they (especially a top level player) whiffs at a ball on the tee, I think it's pretty clear you can determine the intent.

 

I once had a ball fall off the tee on a par three. I still managed to hit the green as it was too late to try to stop or divert the clubhead.

 

OT Stuff (Click to show)

MEfree, you lose credibility by not knowing the rules on the golf course as often as you should, and then not linking to the relevant rules when you post things here. You could start off the thread by saying "here's what happened, this rule and this decision seem relevant, but there's this other situation about Paula Creamer I found by searching here on this site, so what do you guys think?" Instead you post some brief, more-vague-than-necessary thing that implies that you've done little to no research and don't know the rules as well as you often say you do. In other words, your initial posts tend to be lacking in terms of depth and information.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

Where is the decision that addresses a player whose intention to hit the ball stops BEFORE they start their downswing (aka stroke)?

 

I'll make it simple for you: if a player hits the golf ball with a downswing, it's a stroke. The decision states that the ruling goes against the player and that's what covers "when" his "intent" changes. Besides, why would a player start his downswing if he didn't still intend to hit the ball. It requires the reversal of direction - not a continuation of momentum. No, we're not Tiger Woods and we can't stop the clubhead after the downswing begins, but we can stop it before it begins.

 

In other words, if there was a downswing, at the time of the downswing starting there was also intent. If the player manages to miss the ball like Kevin Na or Tiger Woods, no penalty. If they can't, the Decision applies and the stroke counts.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

I agree with Erik's logic unless the definition of a stroke is changed. 

 

My opinion on the matter has changed. I think the RO goofed, and I like the clarity the Decision provides. If you're stupid enough to have no intent of making a stroke but you start a downswing anyway AND hit the golf ball, you've not done enough to demonstrate that you lacked the intent. You neither stopped your downswing nor missed the golf ball with an obvious diverting of the clubhead.

post #11 of 38

did he seriously hit it off the deck after it fell? LOL

post #12 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

By the book, the RO gave the wrong ruling, as did MEfree (especially if the ball fell off during the backswing). That much is very clear.

 

And I think my opinion changed on Paula Creamer's situation. Check your swing. If you're unable to, tough shit. Learn to tee up a ball better or something. :P There's no real way to assess intent when they still make contact with the ball. If they (especially a top level player) whiffs at a ball on the tee, I think it's pretty clear you can determine the intent.

 

I once had a ball fall off the tee on a par three. I still managed to hit the green as it was too late to try to stop or divert the clubhead.

 

OT Stuff (Click to show)

MEfree, you lose credibility by not knowing the rules on the golf course as often as you should, and then not linking to the relevant rules when you post things here. You could start off the thread by saying "here's what happened, this rule and this decision seem relevant, but there's this other situation about Paula Creamer I found by searching here on this site, so what do you guys think?" Instead you post some brief, more-vague-than-necessary thing that implies that you've done little to no research and don't know the rules as well as you often say you do. In other words, your initial posts tend to be lacking in terms of depth and information.

 

 

 

I'll make it simple for you: if a player hits the golf ball with a downswing, it's a stroke. The decision states that the ruling goes against the player and that's what covers "when" his "intent" changes. Besides, why would a player start his downswing if he didn't still intend to hit the ball. It requires the reversal of direction - not a continuation of momentum. No, we're not Tiger Woods and we can't stop the clubhead after the downswing begins, but we can stop it before it begins.

 

In other words, if there was a downswing, at the time of the downswing starting there was also intent. If the player manages to miss the ball like Kevin Na or Tiger Woods, no penalty. If they can't, the Decision applies and the stroke counts.

 

 

 

My opinion on the matter has changed. I think the RO goofed, and I like the clarity the Decision provides. If you're stupid enough to have no intent of making a stroke but you start a downswing anyway AND hit the golf ball, you've not done enough to demonstrate that you lacked the intent. You neither stopped your downswing nor missed the golf ball with an obvious diverting of the clubhead.

LOL Erik- you are so reluctant to ever agree with me that when I agree with you, you change your opinion.  I do agree with you that figuring out intent makes for a much more complicated set of rules- what could be simpler than saying if you make contact with the ball with your club and it moves, it counts as a stroke- doesn't matter if it is a practice swing, waggle or if the ball falls off the tee during your back swing.  With a bright line rule like this, the only trick situation would be the whiff.

 

The reason I agreed with the RO (like you originally did in the Creamer case) was because INTENT is part of the current rules- yes this complicates things, but it is there and there is not a decision that anyone has shown me that says it is a stroke if you never had intent to hit the ball on the downswing.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 460CompMark View Post

did he seriously hit it off the deck after it fell? LOL

not well- about a 50 yard top into the native grass very close to the OB line.  Like I said before, he saw it starting to fall on his back swing, but just couldn't hold up.  I knew it wasn't his intention to hit it off the deck which is why I gave him another chance (despite being completely ignorant of the Creamer situation until after Erik pointed it out)

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by iacas View Post
MEfree, you lose credibility by not knowing the rules on the golf course as often as you should, and then not linking to the relevant rules when you post things here. You could start off the thread by saying "here's what happened, this rule and this decision seem relevant, but there's this other situation about Paula Creamer I found by searching here on this site, so what do you guys think?" Instead you post some brief, more-vague-than-necessary thing that implies that you've done little to no research and don't know the rules as well as you often say you do. In other words, your initial posts tend to be lacking in terms of depth and information.

FWIW, I highly doubt that I have played with any golfer my last 100+ rounds who knows the rules better than I do.  Yes, a few might know them about as well as I do, but nobody seems to know them any better and many don't know them nearly as well.  I have had a number of rules questions as I have gotten back into golf the past few seasons- for some of these I was able to get straight forward answers looking at the rules online and never posting here.  For others, I thought I had the right answer looking at one rule and/or decision, but it turned out another decision or rule applied.  Knowing that we have some rules experts here, at times I have taken the lazy route and just posted as have many other TST members.  In other situations, I know the current rule, but don't think it makes a lot of sense, which has been the reason for my posting- in some cases, I would like to get some discussion going without biasing peoples minds by posting right away which rule/decision actually applies to a situation.  

 

Also, the search function doesn't always come up with the most relevant results- if I put in "ball falls off tee during swing" I don't see the Creamer thread anywhere on the first page of results- here are the current top results ordered by relevance (not including this thread)

post #13 of 38

^^^^^^ This guy has lost his marbles ....

post #14 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville View Post

^^^^^^ This guy has lost his marbles ....

 

LOL

 

And am I the only one who thinks it is ridiculous that someone in their backswing cannot stop their swing before having to hit their driver off the deck after the ball fell off the tee.?????

post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by turtleback View Post

LOL

And am I the only one who thinks it is ridiculous that someone in their backswing cannot stop their swing before having to hit their driver off the deck after the ball fell off the tee.?????
I believe it's reasonable ... If he golfs with his eyes closed. :)
post #16 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by turtleback View Post

 

LOL

 

And am I the only one who thinks it is ridiculous that someone in their backswing cannot stop their swing before having to hit their driver off the deck after the ball fell off the tee.?????

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post


I believe it's reasonable ... If he golfs with his eyes closed. :)

I think it fell just before he reached the top of his swing.  Try this- go to the range and have a friend stand near you.  Have him do nothing some swings and then yell stop just before you reach the top of your swing once.  I'll bet it is harder to hold up than you think even knowing that this is what you want to do.  In the case of my opponent, he wasn't expecting it to fall off so I think it caught him off guard.  I know that when trying to determine the stopping distance of a car, there is both driver reaction time and the time it takes the car to actually stop once the brakes are applied- in this case I believe his reaction time took him from the end of his back swing into the start of his down swing. 

 

To be clear, I didn't start this thread to argue the rules- I just wanted to know what the rule was.  All I have learned is that at least one rules official thought a re-hit was justified while others thought this was the wrong call.

post #17 of 38

Post #2 is correct.

post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post


You do know that the rules and decisions are easily found on-line, right? a3_biggrin.gif


http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Rules-of-Golf/Decision-14/#14/1.5

I find it amazing at the number of situations covered under the rules. Some scenarios I would never have even thought about. Ad Infinitive.....and I assume that the rules will be expanded even further as new situations arise. Rules like "Hitting a ball from a bush with three clubs".   Who even "thinks" of these things?  The one about hitting a fence board between the club face and the ball is another, but I guess that would be no different than hitting with blades of grass between the face and the ball.

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