Originally Posted by iacas
Yeah, so, if the ball moves (normal definition, not current RoG), the player puts it back. Or maybe they just say "it oscillated, so that's still a penalty, but it's exactly where it was" to spare them having to go through the motions. I don't really care. I don't give a lot of thought to Rules that don't exist.
If Tiger had called a rules official over and said "the ball oscillated," the RO said "okay, play on," and it was later found to have moved half a dimple, he'd not have been penalized for failing to replace the ball.
Under these facts:
Player is in the rough. Player moves a leaf that is touching his ball. Player sees the ball wiggle, twitch, oscillate, or whatever you want to call it, but is unsure if it has come to rest in a different position. He's pretty sure that it didn't. What to do?
Under the current rules. Player decides that the ball only oscillated, so he plays on. Camera later reveals that the ball moved a millimeter, so he is assessed a stroke for causing movement, and another stroke for playing the ball from the wrong place. Player is really pissed about the second penalty stroke because, even if he had taken the cautious route and assessed a penalty for causing movement, he couldn't realistically replace a ball that he wasn't even sure actually moved. Fans call for his head because he signed for an incorrect score due to an error he didn't even know was committed.
Under my proposal.
Player: "My ball just wiggled."
Caddy: "Did it move or just twitch?"
Player: "It doesn't matter, I have to assess a stroke anyway."
Caddy: "Okay, you need to replace it if you're going to take a stroke."
Player: "I'm not even sure it moved, so how do I replace it?"
Caddy: "Well, let's call a rules official. If you explain what happened, and he agrees that it just twitched, then you can play it as it currently lies."
Player: "Well I'm Brandon Gay, not Tiger Woods, and this is a Monday qualifier, so I don't have a rules official following me right now. I have no idea whether the MetLife blimp is filming us right now. Luckily, it doesn't matter. If, under the facts apparent to the players in the group, the ball has moved so slightly that I can't feasibly replace it, then I can just play it as it lies with no penalty."
Caddy: "Oh yeah. Thank God for TST and K-troop--this makes things much simpler."
Iacas: you have stated previously that relying on salvation from a rules official is not a workable solution. There isn't always a rules official on hand to provide cover for the player. If the player isn't sure whether the ball even moved, then he won't have to worry about whether a camera will later show differently--or rely on a rules official on the spot to agree with him.
I would also like to hear your opinion on whether picking a ball up, and then replacing it in essentially the same spot, is likely to produce essentially the same lie under the normal practices players use on the various Tours. (If I'm wrong about that, then I'm wrong.)
I disagree with just about all of that.
Incidental and accidental movement should be penalized. If the ball moves (RoG definition), it should be replaced, otherwise the "and the player has incurred no apparent advantage" is a judgment call that's completely unnecessary.
Okay, so just cut off the "and the player has incurred no apparent advantage." If the ball has moved so slight that it can't feasibly be replaced, then there surely is no advantage to the player by the new lie. I can't think of any factual or physical scenario where the ball would move such and be in a better position, so clearly that language was superfluous.