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Player Claims Identical Marking/Ball

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

This happened several years ago.  I joined a thrown-together 4 ball (me, another single and a 2 ball).  On a hole with OB along the right side I hit a tee shot that was along the right side and it was not clear whether it was OB or fine.  So I hit a provisional.  The other single hit a shot that was clearly OB and he also hit a provisional.  I thought his provisional ball hit the large tree that was in the center of the fairway and assumed he saw the same thing.

 

As it turned out, my Titleist marked with a red blotch on the "T's" was fine so I walked over to the middle of the fairway to retrieve my provisional.  It was a Maxfli similarly marked but with a red blotch on the "M's".  The other single objected and said that the ball was his provisional.  I suggested that he walk back a bit since I was pretty sure he had hit the tree.  No, he insisted, that Maxfli was his.  I showed him that every ball in my bag was marked in a similar fashion and pointed out that my ball had clearly gone over the tree and there was no other ball in the area.  Nope, he insisted, that was his Maxfli.  I said it was a bit of a coincidence that he happened to have a ball marked exactly like mine.  He said that he had found the ball earlier and that it had been marked already. He was not willing to go back and look near the tree.

 

We were not playing a match and this was not a tournament so I just gave him the ball but he remained angry for the rest of the round.

 

I am not sure what I would have done in a tournament setting.  I know we often show our markings prior to the start of a round in tournament play but there are times that step is skipped or forgotten.  After 50+ years of playing I never have had someone I was playing with have the exact same marking that I use (a big red blotch that covers the entire "T" on both sides).

 

Any suggestions as to what to do when two players claim the same ball?

post #2 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkuehn1952 View Post
 

This happened several years ago.  I joined a thrown-together 4 ball (me, another single and a 2 ball).  On a hole with OB along the right side I hit a tee shot that was along the right side and it was not clear whether it was OB or fine.  So I hit a provisional.  The other single hit a shot that was clearly OB and he also hit a provisional.  I thought his provisional ball hit the large tree that was in the center of the fairway and assumed he saw the same thing.

 

As it turned out, my Titleist marked with a red blotch on the "T's" was fine so I walked over to the middle of the fairway to retrieve my provisional.  It was a Maxfli similarly marked but with a red blotch on the "M's".  The other single objected and said that the ball was his provisional.  I suggested that he walk back a bit since I was pretty sure he had hit the tree.  No, he insisted, that Maxfli was his.  I showed him that every ball in my bag was marked in a similar fashion and pointed out that my ball had clearly gone over the tree and there was no other ball in the area.  Nope, he insisted, that was his Maxfli.  I said it was a bit of a coincidence that he happened to have a ball marked exactly like mine.  He said that he had found the ball earlier and that it had been marked already. He was not willing to go back and look near the tree.

 

We were not playing a match and this was not a tournament so I just gave him the ball but he remained angry for the rest of the round.

 

I am not sure what I would have done in a tournament setting.  I know we often show our markings prior to the start of a round in tournament play but there are times that step is skipped or forgotten.  After 50+ years of playing I never have had someone I was playing with have the exact same marking that I use (a big red blotch that covers the entire "T" on both sides).

 

Any suggestions as to what to do when two players claim the same ball?

 

Rule 3-3 and take it to the committee?  The rules don't contemplate such a situation of two players in the same group using the same mark, and I think that in fact, the ruling would have been that he was unable to positively identify his ball, thus it was lost.  The fact that he was even unwilling to consider looking for his ball back by the tree says something about his approach to the game.  Just because golf is supposed to be an honorable game, it unfortunately doesn't mean that all players we meet will buy into that philosophy.

post #3 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkuehn1952 View Post
 

I am not sure what I would have done in a tournament setting.  I know we often show our markings prior to the start of a round in tournament play but there are times that step is skipped or forgotten.  After 50+ years of playing I never have had someone I was playing with have the exact same marking that I use (a big red blotch that covers the entire "T" on both sides).

 

Any suggestions as to what to do when two players claim the same ball?

In all of my tournaments so far, we have all shown each other our markings prior to the first shots.  This would be an easy fix because we'd identify it then and one of us could simply change the marking.

 

This is also part of the reason why I've gone to a much less subtle marking of my ball, so as to virtually eliminate the chances of this happening.

 

"Oh, really?  Your wife and two children all have the exact same first initials as mine?  What a coincidence!" ;)  (I'm not talking to you @iacas, lol)

 

It's also the reason why I occasionally ponder yellow balls.  Haven't brought myself to do it yet, but if I did, that would be why.

 

In your situation, I would have let it go almost immediately.  I would have just chuckled to myself about it, but he can have the Maxfli if he wants it that bad. ;)

post #4 of 37

Crazy as it sounds I see this come up at least once a month. I am never involved but It's always the same scenario. Someone hits an errant shot and claims whatever can be found. I use personalized balls with my last name on it to discourage anyone from attempting this skulduggery. Thanks to the dolts at Ellis Island my family has a last name unique to us.

post #5 of 37
Thread Starter 

Taking it a step further, even if everyone in the group has a unique marking, what about all the other competitors?  Parallel fairways, a single ball in play and the other ball no where to be found.  Both players claim the ball.

 

"I saw my ball land here.  And I mark my TaylorMade with a red 'X'.  This is my ball."

"No, my TaylorMade landed here and I use a red 'X'.  It's my ball."

 

I would not want to be on the Committee.

post #6 of 37

I use a white ball with unique markings as my first ball and carry a yellow ball with similar markings as a provisional.  I always disclose that I carry an extra ball of a different color to reduce the confusion and validate the markings.

 

If someone claims my ball is theirs I'd expect them to at least be able to show me one other ball in their bag that's marked similarly.

post #7 of 37

People that don't mark their balls at all drive me nuts when playing with them.  I have used the same markings on my golf balls for about 30 years.  I also find a lot of golf balls.  If I find a new ball and intend to put it into play during a round, I pull out my marker and mark it exactly as the rest of mine are marked, even if it already had a marking on it.

When I hit a provisional ball, I always announce what the ball is and mention that it is the same green dots that was on my original ball.  It will usually be a different brand of ball (which I announce) but same green dots.  If I hit the same brand as the original ball, I announce what the number was on the original and what the number (it will be different) on the provisional.  I got into this habit years ago and it s routine that I use constantly.  It eliminates a lot of confusion right off the bat.

I'm curious as to what the rest of the group had to say about this character who claimed the ball was his.  And, as far as him being angry the rest of the round, he would have gotten a lot of grief from me if he was giving me attitude or being an a$$.  I don't tolerate that kind of stuff very well and have a tendency to give back two fold.  I would have probably asked him on every tee box if he was still playing the same ball.  I'm sure it would have gotten ugly by the end of the round.

post #8 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
 

 

Rule 3-3 and take it to the committee? 

As I expanded on the issue, what if two players from different groups claim the same ball?  Clearly both players feel virtually certain that the ball is their ball so a decision that they can't identify their ball seems much too harsh.

 

Under 3-3 would both players need to play two balls?  One from the spot of their prior shot and the other from where the dual claimed ball resided?

 

Hypothetically, if you were on a Committee and you were presented with this situation, what would you be inclined to decide?  Clearly one of the players is wrong and lost his ball.  Allowing each to play on with no penalty doesn't seem right but neither does assessing a penalty.

post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkuehn1952 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
 

 

Rule 3-3 and take it to the committee? 

As I expanded on the issue, what if two players from different groups claim the same ball?  Clearly both players feel virtually certain that the ball is their ball so a decision that they can't identify their ball seems much too harsh.

 

Under 3-3 would both players need to play two balls?  One from the spot of their prior shot and the other from where the dual claimed ball resided?

 

Hypothetically, if you were on a Committee and you were presented with this situation, what would you be inclined to decide?  Clearly one of the players is wrong and lost his ball.  Allowing each to play on with no penalty doesn't seem right but neither does assessing a penalty.

 

My feeling was correct.  This decision supports that contention.  If neither of two players can positively identify one ball from another as his, then both balls are lost.

 

Quote:
 

27/10

Player Unable to Distinguish His Ball from Another Ball

Q.A and B hit their tee shots into the same area. Both balls were found but, because A and B were playing identical balls and neither had put an identification mark on his ball, they could not determine which ball was A's and which was B's. What is the ruling?

A.Since neither player could identify a ball as his ball, both balls were lost - see Definition of "Lost Ball."

This incident underlines the advisability of the player putting an identification mark on his ball - see Rules 6-5 and 12-2.

post #10 of 37
Thread Starter 

Q.A and B hit their tee shots into the same area. Both balls were found but, because A and B were playing identical balls and neither had put an identification mark on his ball

 

Except both players insist that their ball had a large red mark on each side of the golf ball on the first letter of the brand name.  So they both had marked their ball or used a ball with an identification mark.  Further, the mark wasn't some little black dot under the "T" or some such subtle mark.  These are large red marks and from my experience, virtually unique.

 

Further, it is not a case of identifying one ball from another.  There is only one ball.  If there were two balls, each marked with a large red mark etc... then the decision is on point.

post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkuehn1952 View Post
 

As I expanded on the issue, what if two players from different groups claim the same ball?  Clearly both players feel virtually certain that the ball is their ball so a decision that they can't identify their ball seems much too harsh.

 

Under 3-3 would both players need to play two balls?  One from the spot of their prior shot and the other from where the dual claimed ball resided?

 

Hypothetically, if you were on a Committee and you were presented with this situation, what would you be inclined to decide?  Clearly one of the players is wrong and lost his ball.  Allowing each to play on with no penalty doesn't seem right but neither does assessing a penalty.

Have actually seen this happen in a tournament league.  17th hole ran east to west and 18th hole ran west to east adjacent to 17th.  Big hill about where you might hit a hook tee shot on both holes in between the holes.  Two guys get up there and find that both are playing same kind of Titleist and neither one has marked their golf ball and could not identify.  The ruling...both balls are considered to be lost.  Both of you, go back to tee box and hit your third shot.    

post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkuehn1952 View Post
 

Q.A and B hit their tee shots into the same area. Both balls were found but, because A and B were playing identical balls and neither had put an identification mark on his ball

 

Except both players insist that their ball had a large red mark on each side of the golf ball on the first letter of the brand name.  So they both had marked their ball or used a ball with an identification mark.  Further, the mark wasn't some little black dot under the "T" or some such subtle mark.  These are large red marks and from my experience, virtually unique.

 

Further, it is not a case of identifying one ball from another.  There is only one ball.  If there were two balls, each marked with a large red mark etc... then the decision is on point.

In a tournament, I would have suggested that both players play a 2nd ball...yes I know it gets a bit more ugly because who will hit the ball found but nonetheless both players hit a 2nd ball and play in then get a ruling.  If they came to me for a ruling, I would have wanted to see the ball that was found and gone from there asking for more proof.   As I stated before, if I am playing with someone I have never met before, I announce what ball I am playing, how it is marked while I am holding it up in my hand for them to see.

I use a green Sharpie and not a lot of people use green  Recently, I announced what I was playing and another guy said quickly, mine are marked with green dots also.  We looked at each other's ball and it was obvious that his markings were totally different than mine so the fact it was marked in green was not an issue.

Basically, we can discuss this till the cows come home and there is no clear cut decision in the rules that gives finite direction as to how this should be ruled.

I am on rules committee for 3 different associations but I don't claim to be an expert.  I use the Rule Book quite often, as it should be.  From what I have read in this thread, I know what my ruling would probably be.  And, yes, the instance I eluded to in my previous post was 2 balls in play and it was directed to the underline portion of the post that I quoted.

post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkuehn1952 View Post
 

Q.A and B hit their tee shots into the same area. Both balls were found but, because A and B were playing identical balls and neither had put an identification mark on his ball

 

Except both players insist that their ball had a large red mark on each side of the golf ball on the first letter of the brand name.  So they both had marked their ball or used a ball with an identification mark.  Further, the mark wasn't some little black dot under the "T" or some such subtle mark.  These are large red marks and from my experience, virtually unique.

 

Further, it is not a case of identifying one ball from another.  There is only one ball.  If there were two balls, each marked with a large red mark etc... then the decision is on point.

 

In your case, the other guy has to offer evidence that he did indeed mark his ball in the same manner.  You had the proof of the other balls in your bag, he offered none.  If he then satisfied that requirement, then, and only then, would the lost ball come into effect.  In my opinion.

post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
 

 

In your case, the other guy has to offer evidence that he did indeed mark his ball in the same manner.  You had the proof of the other balls in your bag, he offered none.  If he then satisfied that requirement, then, and only then, would the lost ball come into effect.  In my opinion.

 

 

Let me see if I understand this discussion.  Two players from different groups comply with R6-5 and R12-2 by putting identification marks on their ball.  Just so happens that their brand and make, as well as the ID mark they use is the same.  The balls in play wind up in a position where neither player can say with certainty which ball is theirs.  Both balls are therefore deemed to be lost?

 

I have to think about this one.

post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dormie1360 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post
 

 

In your case, the other guy has to offer evidence that he did indeed mark his ball in the same manner.  You had the proof of the other balls in your bag, he offered none.  If he then satisfied that requirement, then, and only then, would the lost ball come into effect.  In my opinion.

 

 

Let me see if I understand this discussion.  Two players from different groups comply with R6-5 and R12-2 by putting identification marks on their ball.  Just so happens that their brand and make, as well as the ID mark they use is the same.  The balls in play wind up in a position where neither player can say with certainty which ball is theirs.  Both balls are therefore deemed to be lost?

 

I have to think about this one.

 

Read the opening post to get the original question, my response to which is what you quoted.  It's not as straightforward as that.

post #16 of 37

As neither player was able to identify his ball, their balls are lost by definition.

 

I may have related this story before but when refereeing one day my patch involved a hole with a clear but difficult to access, stream running in front of the green. At start of play there were no balls in there. At the end there were over a dozen. When I got a ball retriever and fished them out, all except one were Titleist ProV1 with three red dots. The other had three black dots. 

I think the RBs assumed that players marking their balls would realise they meant 'uniquely'. 

post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dormie1360 View Post
 

 

 

Let me see if I understand this discussion.  Two players from different groups comply with R6-5 and R12-2 by putting identification marks on their ball.  Just so happens that their brand and make, as well as the ID mark they use is the same.  The balls in play wind up in a position where neither player can say with certainty which ball is theirs.  Both balls are therefore deemed to be lost?

 

I have to think about this one.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rulesman View Post
 

As neither player was able to identify his ball, their balls are lost by definition.

 

I may have related this story before but when refereeing one day my patch involved a hole with a clear but difficult to access, stream running in front of the green. At start of play there were no balls in there. At the end there were over a dozen. When I got a ball retriever and fished them out, all except one were Titleist ProV1 with three red dots. The other had three black dots.

I think the RBs assumed that players marking their balls would realise they meant 'uniquely'.

 

 

Yep.  Although this decision talks about 2 players who failed to mark their balls, the title of the decision as well as the underlying principle behind the answer clearly applies to balls identically marked as well.

 

It really underlines the importance of ensuring that your ball is not only marked, but marked uniquely.

 

 

 

27/10

Player Unable to Distinguish His Ball from Another Ball

 

Q. A and B hit their tee shots into the same area. Both balls were found but, because A and B were playing identical balls and neither had put an identification mark on his ball, they could not determine which ball was A's and which was B's. What is the ruling?

 

A. Since neither player could identify a ball as his ball, both balls were lost - see Definition of "Lost Ball."

 

This incident underlines the advisability of the player putting an identification mark on his ball - see Rules 6-5 and 12-2.

post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rulesman View Post
 

As neither player was able to identify his ball, their balls are lost by definition.

 

 

Yes, but what about the OP's original story, that he and his FC both played a provisional ball after having possibly played the original ball out out bounds.  The OP found his ball in bounds, while the FC's ball was clearly out.  Then when the OP went to pick up his provisional ball, the FC claimed that it was his, yet the OP was certain that the FC had hit a tree with his second ball.  The FC refused to even look or consider the possibility, and claimed that the OP's provisional was his.  The OP was able to show a bag full of balls, same brand and marked the same way, the FC was not.  Does the FC get the benefit of a grave doubt, or is he required to actually go back and look for his ball near the tree?  For the OP, it's just an abandoned provisional ball, so no effect on score.  To the FC, it would be his ball in play lying 3, but he can't actually offer any evidence that it really is his.

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