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Ball falls off tee DURING players swing? - Page 2

post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hacker James View Post

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.

 

Most of the Decisions are derived from actual occurrences or rulings during tournament play.  However, having the Decisions at hand while playing is quite unnecessary.  I never carried them with me on the course unless I was working as a rules official, and even then I never had to reference them to make a ruling.  The Rules themselves are rarely expanded on, only modified for clarity most of the time, and they are only revised every 4 years.  The Decisions are added to and subtracted from as needed, sometimes annually if the situation is deemed to be that urgent.

post #20 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

LOL Erik- you are so reluctant to ever agree with me that when I agree with you, you change your opinion.

 

The change in my opinion (from more than four years ago) has nothing to do with you. I've simply changed my opinion on this because the other way, the "Creamer Method," is not as easily enforced, nor is it actually correct per the Rules.

 

The Creamer Method relies on a golfer saying whether they "intended" to hit the golf ball or not. And while I get that "intent" is in the definition, that never actually comes up when you are asking yourself "did they make a stroke?" You can always tell whether they - pro or duffer alike - were trying to hit the golf ball. And it really only matters on the tee box, because regardless of intent, if they move the ball with the clubhead once it's in play, it's either a stroke or a penalty, and in those situations the intent is obvious - were they making a swing, or just setting up to the ball or careless with their practice swing or something?

 

I've said more than a few times that I like black and white rules, and "intent" - when it cannot be measured in an obvious way - is not black and white. Obvious ways = travels past a certain point (baseball checked swing), hits the golf ball (golf), no obvious intent to re-route the club (whiff in golf).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

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.

 

I don't agree. In addition to failing to cover the whiff, it doesn't protect the player who bumps the ball off the tee with the driver either. Yes, it may be easy to add that rule - "the ball is in play after a stroke is made" - but then again you get into defining what a stroke is in a way that it has to exclude accidental bumping. So if accidental bumping isn't a stroke, you can't then just count it as a stroke as you're proposing. The rules would end up chasing their own tail.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

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.

 

Addressed above - you need to intend not to hit the ball AND you need to not hit the ball. You need to do both. The Decision does address this. Intent is irrelevant if it's not appropriately displayed - by checking your swing and/or re-routing to MISS the golf ball.

 

The RO got it wrong in that case.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

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)

 

You, too, were wrong. If the Creamer Incident was actually a rule, we'd have a decision about it by now. We don't. The RO goofed, as did you.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

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)

 

I often use Google in conjunction with the site's search. Just put "site:thesandtrap.com" in the search and it can be quite helpful.

post #21 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

The change in my opinion (from more than four years ago) has nothing to do with you. I've simply changed my opinion on this because the other way, the "Creamer Method," is not as easily enforced, nor is it actually correct per the Rules.

 

The Creamer Method relies on a golfer saying whether they "intended" to hit the golf ball or not. And while I get that "intent" is in the definition, that never actually comes up when you are asking yourself "did they make a stroke?" You can always tell whether they - pro or duffer alike - were trying to hit the golf ball. And it really only matters on the tee box, because regardless of intent, if they move the ball with the clubhead once it's in play, it's either a stroke or a penalty, and in those situations the intent is obvious - were they making a swing, or just setting up to the ball or careless with their practice swing or something?

 

I've said more than a few times that I like black and white rules, and "intent" - when it cannot be measured in an obvious way - is not black and white. Obvious ways = travels past a certain point (baseball checked swing), hits the golf ball (golf), no obvious intent to re-route the club (whiff in golf).

 

 

I don't agree. In addition to failing to cover the whiff, it doesn't protect the player who bumps the ball off the tee with the driver either. Yes, it may be easy to add that rule - "the ball is in play after a stroke is made" - but then again you get into defining what a stroke is in a way that it has to exclude accidental bumping. So if accidental bumping isn't a stroke, you can't then just count it as a stroke as you're proposing. The rules would end up chasing their own tail.

 

 

Addressed above - you need to intend not to hit the ball AND you need to not hit the ball. You need to do both. The Decision does address this. Intent is irrelevant if it's not appropriately displayed - by checking your swing and/or re-routing to MISS the golf ball.

 

The RO got it wrong in that case.

 

 

You, too, were wrong. If the Creamer Incident was actually a rule, we'd have a decision about it by now. We don't. The RO goofed, as did you.

 

 

I often use Google in conjunction with the site's search. Just put "site:thesandtrap.com" in the search and it can be quite helpful.

If it is obvious that the rules official goofed in the Creamer case, then why isn't the decision worded like:

 

Q.A player begins his downswing with the intention of striking the ball but decides during the downswing not to strike the ball. The player is unable to stop the club before it reaches the ball, but he is able to swing intentionally over the top of the ball. Is the player deemed to have made a stroke?

A.No. The player is considered to have checked his downswing voluntarily by altering the path of his downswing and missing the ball even though the swing carried the clubhead beyond the ball.

If the player had not successfully checked his downswing (i.e., he had struck the ball), he is considered to have made a stroke.

Any doubt regarding the player's intent must be resolved against the player.

 

Because I saw the ball fall off the tee during the back swing, it was obvious to me that my opponent did not start his downswing with the intent to hit the ball- yes he started his back swing with the intent to hit the ball, but not his downswing.  Why include the "down" part if the decision is suppose to cover situations that the player obviously did not intend to hit the ball with the downswing? 

post #22 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post

If it is obvious that the rules official goofed in the Creamer case, then why isn't the decision worded like:

 

Ask the USGA.

 

It'd be speculation on any of our parts as to why it's worded that way, and I don't feel like indulging in speculation when it concerns YAMRT.

 

I'll assume that everything else I said you agree with and understand since you basically avoid my post altogether (outside of quoting it) and just continue on with another angle.

 

The point at which I stop caring about these kinds of threads has now been reached. You were wrong, you should have penalized the guy, and the ruling is crystal clear to me - if you make contact with the ball, you didn't successfully check your swing.

post #23 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

 

Ask the USGA.

 

It'd be speculation on any of our parts as to why it's worded that way, and I don't feel like indulging in speculation when it concerns YAMRT.

 

The point at which I stop caring about these kinds of threads has now been reached. You were wrong, you should have penalized the guy, and the ruling is crystal clear to me - if you make contact with the ball, you didn't successfully check your swing.

I took your advice and sent an email to the USGA- it turns out I was correct not to penalize my opponent and let him hit 1 from the tee.  Seems like the RO in the Creamer case may also have been correct assuming Paula never intended to hit the ball with her forward swing.  To make a stroke, you must have intention on the DOWNswing.  

 

I was going to post the USGA response, but just noticed that it said the response was for my personal info only and must not be posted online...not sure why they want to keep rulings like these secret??

 

Here is my email to them

 

To: USGA Rules
Subject: Ball Falling off Tee during backswing

 

Hi-

 

On Tuesday, my opponent's ball fell off the tee during his backswing- he saw it fall and would have liked to stop his swing, but couldn't and hit driver off the deck about 50 yards.  Does the Paula Creamer ruling from 2009 apply and was he entitled to re-hit as he did not start the downswing with the intent to hit the ball?

 

If the shot counts, then why does Decision 14/1.5 only state downswing?  Wouldn't that decision have broader applicability if it read

 

Q.A player begins his downswing with the intention of striking the ball but decides during the downswing not to strike the ball. The player is unable to stop the club before it reaches the ball, but he is able to swing intentionally over the top of the ball. Is the player deemed to have made a stroke?

A.No. The player is considered to have checked his downswing voluntarily by altering the path of his downswing and missing the ball even though the swing carried the clubhead beyond the ball.

If the player had not successfully checked his downswing (i.e., he had struck the ball), he is considered to have made a stroke.

Any doubt regarding the player's intent must be resolved against the player.

 

Because I saw the ball fall off the tee during the back swing, it was obvious to me that my opponent did not start his downswing with the intent to hit the ball- yes he started his back swing with the intent to hit the ball, but not his downswing.  Why include the "down" part if the decision is suppose to cover situations that the player obviously did not intend to hit the ball with the downswing? 

 

 

Thanks,

 

 

 

 

post #24 of 38
Please forward the email to me.

Seems odd given what is written in the Decisions, especially the part about doubt and resolving it against the player.
post #25 of 38

I've now seen the answer by the USGA and do not believe it to be a very good answer. It fails to address the apparent conflict between the Decision and the facts as it pertains intent. Namely, given the USGA's answer, you could claim that you lacked intent every time you hit a poor drive.

post #26 of 38
I guess that explains why they didn't want it shared! a2_wink.gif

Given that, I'm sticking with 14/1.5....
post #27 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post

I guess that explains why they didn't want it shared! a2_wink.gif

Given that, I'm sticking with 14/1.5....

 

I get MEfree's beef - that the definition includes "intent."

 

I just think that the ball being struck is how intent is demonstrated, and if you intend for so long to hit the ball that you can't divert the clubhead sufficiently, well, tough luck.

post #28 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

I've now seen the answer by the USGA and do not believe it to be a very good answer. It fails to address the apparent conflict between the Decision and the facts as it pertains intent. Namely, given the USGA's answer, you could claim that you lacked intent every time you hit a poor drive.

I think the answer is consistent with how the rules of golf defines a stroke- the problem is that only the player who struck the shot knows what his or her intent was.  I don't necessarily like it, but maybe the golf being a game of honor rational fits in here somewhere.

 

However, given that the benefit of the doubt is suppose to go against the player, then I do think there needs to be some outside evidence that they did NOT intend to hit the ball.  In my case, the ball falling off the tee provided that for me, but the trickier situation would be if a car horn (or some other distraction) occurred during the player's back swing.

 

Bottom line to me is that including downswing intent as part of the definition of a stroke makes for some potentially tricky rulings. 

post #29 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

 

I get MEfree's beef - that the definition includes "intent."

 

I just think that the ball being struck is how intent is demonstrated, and if you intend for so long to hit the ball that you can't divert the clubhead sufficiently, well, tough luck.

I do think it would be better if they either eliminated intend or looked at your intend at the start of your BACKswing instead of DOWNswing.  You could still bail out the guy who starts the back swing with the intent to hit the ball but changes his mind AND is able to avoid hitting the ball.

 

Here is an inverse situation- a guy is just off the green with a downhill chip and normally takes a practice swing very close to the ball.  He is taking what you believe to be his practice swing and hits the ball off the toe of his club 5 feet from the hole.  He gives you a big smile that says I didn't mean to hit the ball but I am happy enough with the results.  What do you do if you are playing against him in a match?  

 

FWIW, I have seen my dad hit the ball with a practice swing outside the tee box.  The results were not great and I can't recall if he replaced the ball and added a stroke or just went ahead and hit the next shot from where the ball lay. 

post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post
 

Bottom line to me is that including downswing intent as part of the definition of a stroke makes for some potentially tricky rulings. 

 

As I said in the PM, they could simply make it such that you had to demonstrate intent - if you are able to miss the ball or stop the clubhead before it reaches the ball, you've sufficiently demonstrated intent. Otherwise, tough - "resolved against the player."

post #31 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post
 

I took your advice and sent an email to the USGA- it turns out I was correct not to penalize my opponent and let him hit 1 from the tee.  Seems like the RO in the Creamer case may also have been correct assuming Paula never intended to hit the ball with her forward swing.  To make a stroke, you must have intention on the DOWNswing.  

 

I was going to post the USGA response, but just noticed that it said the response was for my personal info only and must not be posted online...not sure why they want to keep rulings like these secret??

 

 

The way I have understood, which could be incorrect, R&A (dunno about USGA) works in this type of "random person" inquiries is that some "random" R&A person goes through the question and responds. It is not reviewed by a board, but is a response of one single, though knowledgeable, person. And it is not a real ruling, per se. You should be able to rely on it, but... In R&A world if you want a real ruling you should submit it through Golf association/union/whatever to R&A.

post #32 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

 

As I said in the PM, they could simply make it such that you had to demonstrate intent - if you are able to miss the ball or stop the clubhead before it reaches the ball, you've sufficiently demonstrated intent. Otherwise, tough - "resolved against the player."

 

I mostly agree with you here.

 

Quote:

So? If he had completed his swing to a full finish, and then said "I didn't try to hit that" would you have believed him?

Yes.  After the ball fell off the tee, I believe he no longer wanted to hit the ball (but he may not have consciously tried to stop his swing as he did in fact complete his swing, more or less).  I suppose the natural instinct to make contact could take over for some players so that they actually adjust their swing and go after the the ball on the deck.  In this case, he topped it so I don't think that was the case.

 

The better definition of a stroke might be to measure intent at the start of the back swing and then say it counts unless the guy holds up and avoids contact.  This would eliminate this type of situation and still protect waggles or practice swings that make contact with the ball.  Of course, waggles and practice swings that make contact with and move your ball outside the tee box are penalized, so why do we need to protect them on the tee box??

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by luu5 View Post
 

 

The way I have understood, which could be incorrect, R&A (dunno about USGA) works in this type of "random person" inquiries is that some "random" R&A person goes through the question and responds. It is not reviewed by a board, but is a response of one single, though knowledgeable, person. And it is not a real ruling, per se. You should be able to rely on it, but... In R&A world if you want a real ruling you should submit it through Golf association/union/whatever to R&A.

That sounds about right.  

 

This is not the first time this has come up, so I think it would be more useful if the USGA had a published decision that covered it.  14/1.5 only covers situations where the player had the intent to hit the ball on the downswing and says nothing about situations where they lack that intent.

post #33 of 38

Years ago, the discussion centered around whether the player had "addressed the ball." This constituted grounding the club behind the ball just prior to start of the backswing.

 

Jack Nicklaus advised golfers not to ground the club, to have a "floating set-up" behind the ball, with your hands and stance suspending the clubhead above the ground.  Then, a ball falling from the tee could be replayed (because you had not addressed the ball).

 

I have tried to maintain a floating set-up mainly for a smoother takeaway. Ball falling from tee isn't something I worry about.

post #34 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by WUTiger View Post
 

Years ago, the discussion centered around whether the player had "addressed the ball." This constituted grounding the club behind the ball just prior to start of the backswing.

 

That's irrelevant when the ball was on the tee. Jack was talking about addressing the ball after it was already in play, and in particular, in high rough where the ball could settle down or move very easily.

 

I don't think a ball falling off the tee - even if bumped by your club - has ever been a penalty.

 

Edit: looked it up:

 

Quote:
Ball falling off the Tee 
Introduced following an early decision, in 1902 with wording almost identical to today; additional words 'when not in play' in 1912 following another decision.
post #35 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

 

That's irrelevant when the ball was on the tee. Jack was talking about addressing the ball after it was already in play, and in particular, in high rough where the ball could settle down or move very easily.

 

I don't think a ball falling off the tee - even if bumped by your club - has ever been a penalty.

 

Edit: looked it up:

 

 

Of course when someone DOES bump their ball off the tee it is still obligatory to say "One" to propitiate the golf gods. 

 

The fact that it annoys some players is just an added bonus. ;-)

post #36 of 38

Exception:  The ball is in play when a stroke has been made (i.e. if you whiffed it).  That is the only time that I know of when a ball on a tee is in play.  Even after a stroke and distance penalty, the ball, when re-teed, is not in play until after a stroke has been made, no matter how many strokes may have been counted up to that point.

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