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mackingchicken

Bubba Watson ruling

17 posts in this topic

When I first started looking at golf I didnt like Bubba at all. Thought he was a bit of a loser but now I like him.

Opinions on this ruling?

Bubba taking advantage of the rules or just smart play?

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Opinions on this ruling?

Bubba taking advantage of the rules or just smart play?

I think it's both.  I'd like to think that he really intended on playing that shot out of the bush - and its believable with a guy like Bubba or Phil - in which case, it was absolutely the smart play.

On the other hand, if he would have taken an unplayable were the hole not there, I'd consider it more of a 'taking advantage' situation.

On the OTHER other hand ... it's not really fair for a reckless guy to get a break like that, that a cautious guy would get screwed out of either.

Just a really fortunate break for him.  Too bad he choked on 18 on Sunday! :beer:

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I think it's both.  I'd like to think that he really intended on playing that shot out of the bush - and its believable with a guy like Bubba or Phil - in which case, it was absolutely the smart play.

On the other hand, if he would have taken an unplayable were the hole not there, I'd consider it more of a 'taking advantage' situation.

On the OTHER other hand ... it's not really fair for a reckless guy to get a break like that, that a cautious guy would get screwed out of either.

Just a really fortunate break for him.  Too bad he choked on 18 on Sunday!

Yeah I was thinking I dunno any sport where you dont try to take advantage of the rules. I consider it smart play.

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Yep. The rules penalize plenty of times so there's nothing wrong with taking advantage of the ones that benefit.

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The rules are the rules.  With the bad, comes the occasional good.

The important thing to realize from this, is how important it is to understand the rules......and not just to avoid additional penalties from infractions.

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If you're going to play in the PGA, then you must know the Rules of Golf. If you do, then use em to your advantage.
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The only thing that makes this a potentially tricky situation is that, at least as I understand it, relief from these types of things hinge solely on whether or not they interfere with your intended stance or swing.

If Bubba's ball was in the middle of that bush, such that (were the gopher hole not there) he would have taken an unplayable, then it's not really interfering with his intended stance or swing because he didn't have one.

I assume that you do have to answer the question first of whether or not you would actually play it before you're allowed to take a drop from it, right?

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The only thing that makes this a potentially tricky situation is that, at least as I understand it, relief from these types of things hinge solely on whether or not they interfere with your intended stance or swing.

If Bubba's ball was in the middle of that bush, such that (were the gopher hole not there) he would have taken an unplayable, then it's not really interfering with his intended stance or swing because he didn't have one.

The point is this: Who are you to say that he didn't have a stance or lie because he'd have taken an unplayable?

The Rules of Golf can punish sometimes and they can reward sometimes. Just as you can get bad and good breaks.

You can't make Rules that say "well, normally this would be a bad result from a bad shot, so even though you're getting a reward because of the hole, you don't actually get it." It's impossible to write that rule, because again, who are you to say what an unplayable lie is. The player determines that, and they take the factors of the entirety of the lie into consideration.

What if you hit your ball into the middle of a cactus but find that you're standing on the cart path? Who are you to say that's an unplayable lie? Perhaps all you really need to do is advance the ball five yards sideways and that would be an acceptable result? So if you think you could do that, it's not unplayable to you.

Or what if you're 1 down on the last hole and your opponent was just conceded a par four. You lie two in a bush. Well, clearly you're not going to take an unplayable under any circumstances, because even if you have a 0.000000001% chance of holing out, you've gotta try, right?

At the end of the day players get to make the determination of their ball. The rule for Unplayable says it (bold):

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The point is this: Who are you to say that he didn't have a stance or lie because he'd have taken an unplayable?

The Rules of Golf can punish sometimes and they can reward sometimes. Just as you can get bad and good breaks.

You can't make Rules that say "well, normally this would be a bad result from a bad shot, so even though you're getting a reward because of the hole, you don't actually get it." It's impossible to write that rule, because again, who are you to say what an unplayable lie is. The player determines that, and they take the factors of the entirety of the lie into consideration.

What if you hit your ball into the middle of a cactus but find that you're standing on the cart path? Who are you to say that's an unplayable lie? Perhaps all you really need to do is advance the ball five yards sideways and that would be an acceptable result? So if you think you could do that, it's not unplayable to you.

Or what if you're 1 down on the last hole and your opponent was just conceded a par four. You lie two in a bush. Well, clearly you're not going to take an unplayable under any circumstances, because even if you have a 0.000000001% chance of holing out, you've gotta try, right?

At the end of the day players get to make the determination of their ball. The rule for Unplayable says it (bold):

That is basically my point.  I'm not suggesting Bubba did anything wrong, or that any pro would ever do anything wrong here.  Just pointing out that the rule - and granted this is a unique situation that doesn't arise often, so no I don't think it should be changed - as it's written allows for the possibility of people taking advantage.

Since it's solely up to the player what his "intended" line of swing and stance is going to be, and its solely up to him whether or not its unplayable, he was a bit of leeway there.  As opposed to, say, if the rule regarding abnormal ground was more precise.  For example, if it just said something like "if the abnormal ground condition is within 6" of your ball you are entitled to relief."

Again, not saying Bubba did anything wrong, or that the rule is dumb ... just pointing out that there could be cases where people could take advantage.

Somewhat unrelated:  I remember (vaguely) a scenario from the British Open several years ago (nothing important - first or second round) where a player was saying that his stance was being impeded by something (cart path maybe, I don't remember) and he was entitled to a free drop but the rules official actually told him no.  He thought that the player (and part of me wants to say it was David Frost, don't know why) was trying to take advantage.

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That is basically my point.  I'm not suggesting Bubba did anything wrong, or that any pro would ever do anything wrong here.  Just pointing out that the rule - and granted this is a unique situation that doesn't arise often, so no I don't think it should be changed - as it's written allows for the possibility of people taking advantage.

Since it's solely up to the player what his "intended" line of swing and stance is going to be, and its solely up to him whether or not its unplayable, he was a bit of leeway there.  As opposed to, say, if the rule regarding abnormal ground was more precise.  For example, if it just said something like "if the abnormal ground condition is within 6" of your ball you are entitled to relief."

Again, not saying Bubba did anything wrong, or that the rule is dumb ... just pointing out that there could be cases where people could take advantage.

Somewhat unrelated:  I remember (vaguely) a scenario from the British Open several years ago (nothing important - first or second round) where a player was saying that his stance was being impeded by something (cart path maybe, I don't remember) and he was entitled to a free drop but the rules official actually told him no.  He thought that the player (and part of me wants to say it was David Frost, don't know why) was trying to take advantage.

What's wrong with "taking advantage".....?

FWIW, I know it was just an example, but there are many times when my ball is less than 6 inches from a cart path, a sprinkler head, or some such thing, and it doesn't interfere at all.  There are times when something is much further away than that, and it does.

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What's wrong with "taking advantage".....?

Maybe nothing.  Perhaps I don't even understand the rule correctly.

Let's say I'm in Bubba's shoes.  In my mind, I look at the ball and I say "there is no way I could get a club on that so I'm going to have to take an unplayable.  Oh wait, I see a gopher hole there, I get a free drop from that.  Yay!"

Wouldn't that TECHNICALLY be against the rules because the gopher hole isn't in my INTENDED swing path (because my intention was to take an unplayable)?  Obviously nobody except me would ever know that because it was all in my head.  This is where I was saying that perhaps it would be "taking advantage" of the rules.

If not, then never mind everything I said because I had the rule interpreted wrong. :-P

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That is basically my point.  I'm not suggesting Bubba did anything wrong, or that any pro would ever do anything wrong here.  Just pointing out that the rule - and granted this is a unique situation that doesn't arise often, so no I don't think it should be changed - as it's written allows for the possibility of people taking advantage.

I'm with @David in FL - so? There are plenty of rules that penalize. Some give you bonuses.

I think you're using "taking advantage" in the pejorative sense.

For example, if it just said something like "if the abnormal ground condition is within 6" of your ball you are entitled to relief."

That's dumb IMO. :) Plus now we'd all need rulers again? Plus you're taking out anything regarding the stance and the area of the intended swing.

Somewhat unrelated:  I remember (vaguely) a scenario from the British Open several years ago (nothing important - first or second round) where a player was saying that his stance was being impeded by something (cart path maybe, I don't remember) and he was entitled to a free drop but the rules official actually told him no.  He thought that the player (and part of me wants to say it was David Frost, don't know why) was trying to take advantage.

Different scenario. The official deemed at the time that the player was not taking a stance he'd use to play the shot.

For example, your ball is just left of a cart path and you're a righty. It's in a small pile of pebbles and rocks that are just part of the course. There's nothing else around you.

It would be unreasonable to say that you were going to play away from the hole, thus standing on the cart path, thus allowing a drop out of the small pile of rocks. Your line of play is not impeded, and the angle you hit the ball doesn't change the fact that your ball is sitting amongst some pebbles. Relief in such a case should not be granted as the player is truly doing something he wouldn't normally do, something he has no reason to do except to try to twist the rules.

What's wrong with "taking advantage".....?

FWIW, I know it was just an example, but there are many times when my ball is less than 6 inches from a cart path, a sprinkler head, or some such thing, and it doesn't interfere at all.  There are times when something is much further away than that, and it does.

QFT.

Let's say I'm in Bubba's shoes. In my mind, I look at the ball and I say "there is no way I could get a club on that so I'm going to have to take an unplayable. Oh wait, I see a gopher hole there, I get a free drop from that. Yay!"

So? He was fortunate to have a gopher hole or whatever it was on his normal stance if he did decide to play the shot.

Sometimes you catch a break. You don't get to FORCE a break - like my example above - but sometimes you get one.

Wouldn't that TECHNICALLY be against the rules because the gopher hole isn't in my INTENDED swing path (because my intention was to take an unplayable)?

You don't form your intent before fully assessing the lie. And this rule doesn't talk about intent.

So what if he thinks in his mind "boy, I lucked out here, otherwise I'd have to take an unplayable." If I hit it into a cactus but am standing on a cart path if I were to play the shot, I ask again: who are you to know whether I was going to take an unplayable.

To put it another way, you're looking at it backwards. The interference precedes the "shot choice." The only time shot choice matters is when someone is trying to force something completely unreasonable (like the pebble, or like the British Open thing). Otherwise, it's like benefit of the doubt goes to the player, and if he's playing towards the hole or around any obvious obstacles (a tree, a lake, etc.), he's deemed to be capable of making that stroke.

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You don't form your intent before fully assessing the lie. And this rule doesn't talk about intent.

So what if he thinks in his mind "boy, I lucked out here, otherwise I'd have to take an unplayable." If I hit it into a cactus but am standing on a cart path if I were to play the shot, I ask again: who are you to know whether I was going to take an unplayable.

To put it another way, you're looking at it backwards. The interference precedes the "shot choice." The only time shot choice matters is when someone is trying to force something completely unreasonable (like the pebble, or like the British Open thing). Otherwise, it's like benefit of the doubt goes to the player, and if he's playing towards the hole or around any obvious obstacles (a tree, a lake, etc.), he's deemed to be capable of making that stroke.

LOL ... you wasted your time with all the previous stuff.  (But thanks anyway ... I enjoy reading what comes out of your brain.) :-P This is what I was looking for.  I was correct when I said "perhaps I don't understand the rule correctly." :beer:

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LOL ... you wasted your time with all the previous stuff.  (But thanks anyway ... I enjoy reading what comes out of your brain.)   This is what I was looking for.  I was correct when I said "perhaps I don't understand the rule correctly."

That assumes I'm right. The rule is clearly written to allow Bubba to do what I did. I'm just saying what feels like, to me, the "reasons why" that ruling is legit. It's not like the Rules book says "interference precedes assessment of the lie in a player's mind." The Rules pretty much try to stay out of intent whenever possible.

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There is no "taking advantage of the rule" - there is only applying the rules (see Tiger having fans move a boulder).

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Sometimes you catch a break. You don't get to FORCE a break - like my example above - but sometimes you get one.

Correct, it was just a good break. Like if I had a ball finish on a cart path, immediately to the left of the path is a bush and to the right it's a clear shot at the green. Fortunately the ball comes to rest on the right side of the path so I can take relief where I have a clear shot. I didn't "take advantage" of the rules, I just followed them.

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