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Golfingdad

Rules Issue, Ethics Issue, or Neither??

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Golfingdad    1,849

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. :beer:

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SCfanatic35    35

10-2 . Stroke Play

a . When Starting Play of Hole

The competitor who has the honor at the first teeing ground is determined by the order of the draw. In the absence of a draw, the honor should be decided by lot.

The competitor with the lowest score at a hole takes the honor at the next teeing ground . The competitor with the second lowest score plays next and so on. If two or more competitors have the same score at a hole, they play from the next teeing ground in the same order as at the previous teeing ground .

Exception: Rule 32-1 (handicap bogey, par and Stableford competitions).

b . During Play of Hole

After the competitors have started play of the hole, the ball farthest from the hole is played first. If two or more balls are equidistant from the hole or their positions relative to the hole are not determinable, the ball to be played first should be decided by lot.

Exceptions: Rules 22 (ball assisting or interfering with play) and 31-4 ( four-ball stroke play).

Note: When it becomes known that the original ball is not to be played as it lies and the competitor is required to play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5 ), the order of play is determined by the spot from which the previous stroke was made. When a ball may be played from a spot other than where the previous stroke was made, the order of play is determined by the position where the original ball came to rest.

c . Playing Out of Turn

If a competitor plays out of turn, there is no penalty and the ball is played as it lies. If, however, the Committee determines that competitors have agreed to play out of turn to give one of them an advantage, they are disqualified.

(Making stroke while another ball in motion after stroke from putting green – see Rule 16-1f )

(Incorrect order of play in foursome stroke play – see Rule 29-3 )

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Harmonious    169

From the reading of SCFanatic's rules explanation, it would appear that all 3 players agreed to give player A an advantage and, as such, all 3 should be disqualified. But do you bring it up after the fact? Tough call.

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Golfingdad    1,849

If a competitor plays out of turn, there is no penalty and the ball is played as it lies. If, however, the Committee determines that competitors have agreed to play out of turn to give one of them an advantage, they are disqualified.

(Making stroke while another ball in motion after stroke from putting green – see Rule 16-1f)

(Incorrect order of play in foursome stroke play – see Rule 29-3)

Wow, fascinating.  I'm kinda glad I didn't know this rule yet ... I would hate to have to tell them that they were DQ'd on the 18th green.  Because, as it turned out, he missed anyways, and still won by 3 strokes.

On the other hand, if he made it, and then won by one ... ouch.

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SCfanatic35    35

IMHO, since this is a competitive golf tournament I would have brought it to the attention of the director.  How do you know that the guy playing with you was going to win? Wasn't their 15-20 people in the tournament?

Having said that, I see a few problems that could come from that.  A) you will be the jerk who called this guy on a possible suspect rule and thus these 3 plus their friends might watch you like a hawk and try and find a rule infraction to do it back.  B) Since all 3 others in your group were in on it, it would be your word versus the three of them.  If they all deny it happening, nothing would come of it except you being the jerk.

Lastly, I wouldn't know what to do if I was in your shoes. It's easy for me to say online what I would do, but that's Monday morning QB'ing it.  I guess now that I know the rule, if the situation were to ever present itself again I would inform them about the disqualification that will happen if they do putt out of order.

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iacas    4,157
It sounds to me that if your enforced proper order of play to begin with you wouldn't be in a moral quandary. Plus, the competition is now closed.

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Golfingdad    1,849

IMHO, since this is a competitive golf tournament I would have brought it to the attention of the director.  How do you know that the guy playing with you was going to win? Wasn't their 15-20 people in the tournament?

Having said that, I see a few problems that could come from that.  A) you will be the jerk who called this guy on a possible suspect rule and thus these 3 plus their friends might watch you like a hawk and try and find a rule infraction to do it back.  B) Since all 3 others in your group were in on it, it would be your word versus the three of them.  If they all deny it happening, nothing would come of it except you being the jerk.

Lastly, I wouldn't know what to do if I was in your shoes. It's easy for me to say online what I would do, but that's Monday morning QB'ing it.  I guess now that I know the rule, if the situation were to ever present itself again I would inform them about the disqualification that will happen if they do putt out of order.

Keep in mind that it's not like these 3 guys were all buddies and were "in on" anything together.  I'm actually good friends with C, and he and I know B from previous tournaments, and none of us had ever met A until today.

But yes, part of the issue with these tournaments is that although they are competitive, they are also relaxed and fun and we don't all know all of the rules, so you don't want to be "that guy" all the time.

In this case though ...

It sounds to me that if your enforced proper order of play to begin with you wouldn't be in a moral quandary. Plus, the competition is now closed.

... I honestly had no idea that there was such a harsh penalty.  At the time, I thought at most, that perhaps player C (who was out of it) was the one who committed an infraction.  I didn't care to say anything at the time because it wasn't worth it.

Knowing what I know now, I'll say something immediately after hearing C ask the question.

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SCfanatic35    35

Keep in mind that it's not like these 3 guys were all buddies and were "in on" anything together.  I'm actually good friends with C, and he and I know B from previous tournaments, and none of us had ever met A until today.

But yes, part of the issue with these tournaments is that although they are competitive, they are also relaxed and fun and we don't all know all of the rules, so you don't want to be "that guy" all the time.

In this case though ...

... I honestly had no idea that there was such a harsh penalty.  At the time, I thought at most, that perhaps player C (who was out of it) was the one who committed an infraction.  I didn't care to say anything at the time because it wasn't worth it.

Knowing what I know now, I'll say something immediately after hearing C ask the question.

You wouldn't be if you would have turned him in and got him disqualified.  Now you know what to do next time, which is what I have told myself a few times after playing in tournaments and learned a rule that I didn't already know. Live and learn.

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newtogolf    957

It sounds to me that if your enforced proper order of play to begin with you wouldn't be in a moral quandary. Plus, the competition is now closed.

^ This exactly, the group probably enforced proper order of play the entire round until 18th.  A simple reminder would have solved any ethical issues or rules violations.  Deep down, they had to know providing the away player with a putting line was against the rules.

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Fourputt    922

Quote:

Originally Posted by SCfanatic35

c. Playing Out of Turn

If a competitor plays out of turn, there is no penalty and the ball is played as it lies. If, however, the Committee determines that competitors have agreed to play out of turn to give one of them an advantage, they are disqualified.

(Making stroke while another ball in motion after stroke from putting green – see Rule 16-1f)

(Incorrect order of play in foursome stroke play – see Rule 29-3)

Wow, fascinating.  I'm kinda glad I didn't know this rule yet ... I would hate to have to tell them that they were DQ'd on the 18th green.  Because, as it turned out, he missed anyways, and still won by 3 strokes.

On the other hand, if he made it, and then won by one ... ouch.

It should have been brought to the attention of the committee.  Regardless of whether you knew the rule, you were fairly certain that something didn't seem right.  You don't even have to take it to the committee in an accusatory fashion, simply in the interest of learning.  If that results in the proper disposition (in this case disqualification), then you have furthered the rules education of four players, three of whom probably won't be thrilled with the lesson.

For further information, since B and C had already lifted their balls, the option to play out of turn in stroke play (continuous putting rule, or whatever you want to call it) was no longer available.  They were clearly in breach of Rule 10-2, and because of the conversation, they were in DQ territory.

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iacas    4,157

I think that this is the type of situation where the Principles booklet can help you by considering the form of play (or if not that specifically, understanding the basic principles of the form of play can help).

In stroke play, it's not only every man for himself (i.e. nobody can help him with anything that isn't general knowledge), but every man is responsible for protecting the field as well.

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turtleback    484

Knowing what I know now, I'll say something immediately after hearing C ask the question.

Yeah, this is one of those situations where, if you know the rule, then before anyone putts you say "whoa, guys, you can't do that or you all all get DQed."  It is always best to prevent the infration when possible.  I was playing on my club's stroke play event a couple of months ago and a fellow competitor had lagged up from off the green to about a foot away.  He walked up to the putt and started to line up to hit it in with the flagstick still in the hole.  I yelled at him to stop, and then reminded him that if he hit the flagstick he would be penalized.  He was pretty grateful.

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bkuehn1952    472

I agree with turtleback that the best course, as soon as one felt uncomfortable with how things looked to be preceding, would be to say "stop".  If I am unsure with a course of action I think it is my responsibility to say something before the other players act.

In this case, as soon as Player C said let me putt out to show you the line , if I were doubtful about that action, I would have advised everyone of my doubts before Player C putted.  If I chose to not say anything because I was uncertain, I would not go to the Committee after the round.  My personal approach is that once all the members of a four ball agree with a course of action, it is not right for one of them to go ask for a ruling from the Committee.  We made a "ruling" at the time and to later subject a player to possible penalty or DQ is not right.

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iacas    4,157
My personal approach is that once all the members of a four ball agree with a course of action, it is not right for one of them to go ask for a ruling from the Committee.  We made a "ruling" at the time and to later subject a player to possible penalty or DQ is not right.

I'll disagree with that last part. Again, there are more than four players in the field, and every player has the responsibility to protect other players.

What if someone from another group saw what was going on and asked the player about it, and he realized that he was wrong. Do you think he'd be happy to hear that the player wouldn't go to the committee simply because they made a "ruling" (that was incorrect) at the time so he wasn't going to bother?

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dsc123    133
Quote:

Originally Posted by newtogolf

Deep down, they had to know providing the away player with a putting line was against the rules.

This is a good point.  Even if they didn't know the DQ rule, they had to have had an inkling that this was at least questionable.

Yeah, this is one of those situations where, if you know the rule, then before anyone putts you say "whoa, guys, you can't do that or you all all get DQed."

That's probably the best way to handle it in the future. I wouldn't want to let them do it, then call them out on it.

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