Originally Posted by Ignorant
Originally Posted by Fourputt
You still aren't getting it. You are too hung up on the precision of the penalty. It isn't an exact science. The penalty simply ensures no advantage gained, it doesn't guarantee that you won't be put at a disadvantage. 100 yards (or meters if you like) closer to the hole is a serious breach of the rule by any possible interpretation, but it still doesn't cost more than 2 strokes as long as you correct the mistake. In fact, if your fellow competitor runs over and tells you that you are doing it wrong after your drop but before you make a stroke, then you get to redrop for free, no penalty at all (except the original stroke and distance for the lost ball).
It seems we are not talking the same language. I'll try once more.
When does a player get so much more additional advantage that the breach in question becomes a serious one? Tufts explains this through his 2nd principle 'play the course as you find it' and further explaining why improving a line of play through dropping in a wrong place to avoid the tree is a serious breach. I understand his text so that the player gets his penalty of 2 strokes for the breach against the 2nd principle. As soon as he tries to get further advantage of his breach it becomes a serious one. Now the only question lying there is what actually constitutes 'further advantage'.
The fact that a player may correct his mistake and thus avoid DQ is irrelevant here as we are discussing what constitutes a serious breach. Should the player correct his mistake he would get no advantage in the first place so no serious breach could occur.
As I said, it isn't a mathematical formula. At some point it becomes pure judgement as to whether the line has been crossed between a breach and a serious breach. It simply cannot be filtered down any farther than that. You are just going to have to live with that answer. It will never be a case of 30 yards is a breach, but 31 yards is serious.
Let me give you an example:
1) A player hits his ball into a lateral water hazard. the ball crossed the margin at a point 150 yards from the hole. He finds the ball in the hazard at a point only 120 yards from the hole, rescues it and drops there and plays, 30 yards closer to the hole than his correct dropping area. The difference means that he plays a PW from the wrong place when he should be playing an 8I from 150 yards in the correct spot.
2) Two holes later he again hits into a lateral water hazard. This time the ball crosses the margin 250 yards from the hole, well outside of his 3 wood range. Again he finds the ball 30 yards closer at 220 yards out, drops there and plays his next stroke. The difference here is that now he is able to reach the green with a 3 wood.
Would you call both cases serious? In one case the 2 stroke penalty more than makes up for the advantage, while in the other there is justification to believe that it doesn't ensure that no advantage is gained. The second case I definitely rule as a serious breach. The first one, barring any other influencing factors I wouldn't call a serious breach, two strokes is quite sufficient to negate any advantage gained. Both cases have the same distance gained, but the second one changes the play of the hole to a significant degree.
Most of the time when Rule 20-7 comes into play, it's from something as insignificant as what happened with Tiger when the ball moved and he failed to replace it. Less common is the player taking a 2 clublength drop when only entitled to one clublength (or like Tiger on 15 at the Masters, taking too much liberty with the phrase "as near as possible"), again just a simple breach. In the more than 20 years that I've been dealing with the rules, I've never seen a serious breach committed during any round where the rules were being observed.