I played in a tournament today and a peculiar situation came up at the very end. It was an 18 hole stroke play event, and we play gross score in flights. If you break 80 in my flight, chances are typically high that you'll win. Here's what happened:
We got to the 18th green and we all knew that one of the guys in our group was the likely winner - (if he could 2 putt from about 60 feet, he would finish with a 76). His first putt was the perfect distance, however, he misread it and was about 12 feet right of the hole. Let's call this guy player "A". Player "B" was directly on A's line about 5 feet from the hole. Player "C" was also on the exact same line, however, he was about 5 feet beyond the hole. (I was player D and I was at a right angle to all of them, 3' out)
After A hit his first putt, he was still away and was getting ready to line up his putt. B, C, and D were all waiting for him. Then, all of a sudden, C (the one beyond the hole) says directly to A, "You want me to go ahead and putt to give you a line?" Now, I'm pretty sure he would have been fine just offering to putt because he was ready, and it would give A a chance to take a breath, but I have a feeling the last half of that line was not kosher. A seemed a little surprised at the question, but then answered "yes" so C putted, and missed, and then tapped in.
Then I heard A ask B "Would you mind [not sure exactly]?" and then B answered "sure." I assumed that A was asking B to move his mark, but then B putt his ball down and went ahead and putted so from that I am inferring that A asked B "Would you mind putting first?" or something to that effect. He also missed. Next A putted, also missed, and ended up bogeying for a 77 (and still, as expected, first place by three strokes).
Side note: I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure that A was standing on the line of both B and C's putts while they were being hit.
Now, here are all of my questions:
1. Does C deserve a penalty for asking that question? Does it fall under the "advice" rule?
2. Does A deserve a penalty for answering?
3. Does A deserve a penalty for asking B to putt (for the sake of this argument, if it matters, lets assume he did not say anything about 'giving me the line' in the question.)
4. Does A also deserve any penalty for (possibly) standing on the line of B's and C's putts?
5. Or is this all technically legal, but just perhaps, unethical?
To anybody who took the time to read all of this ... thanks in advance.