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bkuehn1952

Rotated Golf Ball

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A while back someone asked a question about a ball moving.  Before I get into the question, let's look at a definition.  The Rules defines the situation as follows:

Move or Moved:

A ball is deemed to have “ moved ’’ if it leaves its position and comes to rest in any other place.

Many of us have probably lightly touched a ball with our clubhead and had the ball rock a bit.  I believe the USGA uses the term "oscillate" to describing the slight wiggle.  As long as the ball does not move from its spot and merely oscillates, the ball is not considered to have been moved and there is no penalty (Decision 18/2).

So now the question.  A player finds his ball in some pine needles.  He attempts to pull a needle away from the ball.  The ball rotates as the pine needle is removed but remains in the original spot.  In removing the pine needle did the player move his ball, incur a one stroke penalty and now must replace it?  Or is he in the clear because the ball remained in the same spot, although rotated from its original orientation?

I asked the USGA about this and received a response.  I would like to see whether everyone's thinking follows the USGA's logic.

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Are you saying that the ball rotated about a vertical axis (i.e. the center of gravity of the golf ball did not change position)?

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I don't have an answer, but I find it hard to believe that a loose impediment which is that firmly in contact with the ball would not cause some movement, even if that movement is straight down.  It seems to me that the player would have be absolutely certain that there was no other movement, and still it's getting into a shady area.  Even on the putting green, the player is not allowed to rotate the ball without marking it.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

I don't have an answer, but I find it hard to believe that a loose impediment which is that firmly in contact with the ball would not cause some movement, even if that movement is straight down.  It seems to me that the player would have be absolutely certain that there was no other movement, and still it's getting into a shady area.  Even on the putting green, the player is not allowed to rotate the ball without marking it.

Rotating the ball on the putting green without marking it is a different issue imo.  There is a penalty under 18-2a for that for purposely touching and/or moving the ball.

In the case of the original post, I agree with you that it's a "shady area" and that it's probable that the ball did move (as defined).  This may be a situation where doubt is resolved against the player, incurring a penalty stroke and must replace the ball.

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Originally Posted by rogolf

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

I don't have an answer, but I find it hard to believe that a loose impediment which is that firmly in contact with the ball would not cause some movement, even if that movement is straight down.  It seems to me that the player would have be absolutely certain that there was no other movement, and still it's getting into a shady area.  Even on the putting green, the player is not allowed to rotate the ball without marking it.

Rotating the ball on the putting green without marking it is a different issue imo.  There is a penalty under 18-2a for that for purposely touching and/or moving the ball.

In the case of the original post, I agree with you that it's a "shady area" and that it's probable that the ball did move (as defined).  This may be a situation where doubt is resolved against the player, incurring a penalty stroke and must replace the ball.

I know the touching prohibition, I was just using it as an example of how close to a breach the player's act was getting him.  I also agree that this is a case where that doubt must come into play.  If the ball moves even a millimeter, he incurs the penalty, and in order to replace the ball, he almost has to replace the loose impediment, since it almost had to provide some support to have rotated the ball as the LI was removed.

I'll put it this way, if I had taken such an action, I'd have been forced to call a penalty on myself.  However, I would never have taken such a  risk in the first place.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

I know the touching prohibition, I was just using it as an example of how close to a breach the player's act was getting him.  I also agree that this is a case where that doubt must come into play.  If the ball moves even a millimeter, he incurs the penalty, and in order to replace the ball, he almost has to replace the loose impediment, since it almost had to provide some support to have rotated the ball as the LI was removed.

I'll put it this way, if I had taken such an action, I'd have been forced to call a penalty on myself.  However, I would never have taken such a  risk in the first place.

Since the loose impediment is not part of the lie, it doesn't have to be replaced.

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Originally Posted by rogolf

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

I know the touching prohibition, I was just using it as an example of how close to a breach the player's act was getting him.  I also agree that this is a case where that doubt must come into play.  If the ball moves even a millimeter, he incurs the penalty, and in order to replace the ball, he almost has to replace the loose impediment, since it almost had to provide some support to have rotated the ball as the LI was removed.

I'll put it this way, if I had taken such an action, I'd have been forced to call a penalty on myself.  However, I would never have taken such a  risk in the first place.

Since the loose impediment is not part of the lie, it doesn't have to be replaced.

How can the ball be replaced if the impediment was part of its support?

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To respond to the question from iacas, yes, the ball appeared to maintain the same the same position while rotating around a horizontal axis (like a wheel spinning on ice).

I am impressed by the discussion and analysis since it follows closely with what the USGA stated.  They told me that the presumption would be that the ball moved downward even if the loose impediment was not removed and the downward movement was not visible to the naked eye (I am paraphrasing and expanding a bit).  Even if it looks like the ball just rotated, one should take a 1 stroke penalty for moving the ball.

Frankly, I am not sure how one would best go about replacing the ball when it looks like it did not move.  Where would one move it to?  If the pine needle were removed, replacing the pine needle might be appropriate but realistically, in performing that process one is probably changing the lie even more.  Probably the best course is to leave the ball alone to begin with and avoid the penalty and all the scenarios that might follow.

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Originally Posted by bkuehn1952

... So now the question.  A player finds his ball in some pine needles.  He attempts to pull a needle away from the ball.  The ball rotates as the pine needle is removed but remains in the original spot.  In removing the pine needle did the player move his ball, incur a one stroke penalty and now must replace it?  Or is he in the clear because the ball remained in the same spot, although rotated from its original orientation? ...

Not to dodge the question, but I played off a lot of pine needle beds down in Oklahoma. My learned response was, don't touch anything, the ball may roll noticeably. Just hit the ball and see what happens.

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Originally Posted by bkuehn1952

Frankly, I am not sure how one would best go about replacing the ball when it looks like it did not move.  Where would one move it to?  If the pine needle were removed, replacing the pine needle might be appropriate but realistically, in performing that process one is probably changing the lie even more.  Probably the best course is to leave the ball alone to begin with and avoid the penalty and all the scenarios that might follow.

I think your last sentence is the best advice.  I think the definition of a ball moving is written the way it is so a ball may oscillate without penalty.  Taking the definition literally, I think you would be hard pressed to move a ball by some outside force and prove it moved back to the exact same spot.  (three dimensionally).  If a loose impediment rotated a ball, I would agree it probably was offering some type of support.

This decision may be of some interest.

20-3d/3

Ball in Rough Moves Downward When Addressed; Ball Will Not Remain at Rest When Replaced

Q. A player's ball is sitting up in the rough about three inches above the ground. He addresses the ball. It moves downward about two inches and comes to rest at Point X. The player attempts to replace the ball as required by Rule 18-2b , but the ball falls downward to Point X. Under Rule 20-3d , he again attempts to replace the ball, with the same result. The player must now place the ball at the nearest spot not nearer the hole where it can be placed at rest - Rule 20-3d .

If the nearest spot where the ball will remain at rest is Point X, must the player place the ball there, even though that point is vertically below the original lie?

A. Yes.

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first of all no-one should take that risk as i feel it just isnt worth the penalty!! also if u see ANY movement in the ball then it has moved - its been seen and its a penalty for sure - something like that if i didnt call a penalty on myself itd play on my mind the rest of the round and ruin my mood/day etc.... but then again id never move something so close to the ball in the first place!

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Originally Posted by billatthebar

first of all no-one should take that risk as i feel it just isnt worth the penalty!! also if u see ANY movement in the ball then it has moved - its been seen and its a penalty for sure - something like that if i didnt call a penalty on myself itd play on my mind the rest of the round and ruin my mood/day etc.... but then again id never move something so close to the ball in the first place!

Ball is allowed to oscillate, though.

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Originally Posted by luu5

Quote:

Originally Posted by billatthebar

first of all no-one should take that risk as i feel it just isnt worth the penalty!! also if u see ANY movement in the ball then it has moved - its been seen and its a penalty for sure - something like that if i didnt call a penalty on myself itd play on my mind the rest of the round and ruin my mood/day etc.... but then again id never move something so close to the ball in the first place!

Ball is allowed to oscillate, though.

That had already been mentioned.  Just be sure that it really is just oscillating.   Once again, any doubt must be resolved against the player.

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This type of rule should be enforced based upon the players' determination with the human eye at the time it happens. If the player sees it and thinks the ball did not move and a competitor has no objection, then that is what should be the final decision. If players are not sure what happened, then they could ask the committee to review it.

Perfect example is the penalty to Corey Pavin in last year's Sr. Open. He new he touched the ball, he was lookig directly at it, but thought that it had come to rest in the same spot, so that was his determination.

Later through the review of video, it was determined that the ball had actually moved to a new location, even though it was imperceptible to the human eye at the time it happened. This penalty in my mind was absurd.

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Originally Posted by szaino

This type of rule should be enforced based upon the players' determination with the human eye at the time it happens. If the player sees it and thinks the ball did not move and a competitor has no objection, then that is what should be the final decision. If players are not sure what happened, then they could ask the committee to review it.

Perfect example is the penalty to Corey Pavin in last year's Sr. Open. He new he touched the ball, he was lookig directly at it, but thought that it had come to rest in the same spot, so that was his determination.

Later through the review of video, it was determined that the ball had actually moved to a new location, even though it was imperceptible to the human eye at the time it happened. This penalty in my mind was absurd.

So where would you draw the line?  It's okay if it moves 1/8" but it's a penalty if it moves 1/4"?  1/2"?  The rule is worded exactly as it has to be to be workable.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

So where would you draw the line?  It's okay if it moves 1/8" but it's a penalty if it moves 1/4"?  1/2"?  The rule is worded exactly as it has to be to be workable.


I would enforce the rule exactly as it is supposed to be. If Corey Pavin thought the ball did not move based on looking at it from a few feet away, then that would be the final determination. If he thought it moved 1/8" or a 1/16", then the determination would be that it moved.

What I am saying is, if with your own eyes, on the course, at the time of it happening you can not perceive the movement, then that should be how it is determined.

I am against using high speed video cameras, zoomed in, played in slow motion, and as in Pavin's case, the ball may have moved literally +- a dimple, which the human eye couldn't even pick up, and then assessing a penalty based upon that.

We shouldn't be employing technology after the fact for such minute things which have no effect on any outcome.

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well where do we draw the line?? if u notice even the slightest wobble then the chances of the ball being TO THE ATOM , EXACTLY  where it was previously then it has moved! so if we can use slow motion cameras for this should we be able to use electron microscopy to be absolutely sure??? lol i know this is ludicrous and that is exactly my point....if you see it move then it moved

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Originally Posted by szaino

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

So where would you draw the line?  It's okay if it moves 1/8" but it's a penalty if it moves 1/4"?  1/2"?  The rule is worded exactly as it has to be to be workable.

I would enforce the rule exactly as it is supposed to be. If Corey Pavin thought the ball did not move based on looking at it from a few feet away, then that would be the final determination. If he thought it moved 1/8" or a 1/16", then the determination would be that it moved.

What I am saying is, if with your own eyes, on the course, at the time of it happening you can not perceive the movement, then that should be how it is determined.

I am against using high speed video cameras, zoomed in, played in slow motion, and as in Pavin's case, the ball may have moved literally +- a dimple, which the human eye couldn't even pick up, and then assessing a penalty based upon that.

We shouldn't be employing technology after the fact for such minute things which have no effect on any outcome.

That is covered too.  Any doubt is necessarily resolved against the player.   No way for every ruling to suit everyone's opinion of right and wrong.

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