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wadesworld

Potential penalty (stepping on divot) in women's amateur

6 posts in this topic

Just curious about a situation that occurred in the USGA women's amateur (match play quaterfinals).

A player played a pitch from in front of an elevated green.  She left the shot well short, and as it started to roll back down the hill towards her, she clearly stepped on the divot she had made.  It looked like the ball rolled right across the spot, so I don't think there was any question it was a 1-2 violation.  The ball continued to roll and ended behind where she hit the original shot.

It ended up not mattering because she lost the hole anyhow.  The rules official consulted by the broadcasters indicated that a referee would have to talk to her.  I don't think he was indicating that there would be any additional penalty since as said, she had already lost the hole.  He was just indicating now that the official was aware, they were required to discuss it.

But anyhow, onto the question.  Let's say her ball had rolled backwards 10-feet to the right of the divot.

1)  Is she still subject to the penalty?

2)  If she plays her next shot with a wedge, it should obviously come nowhere near the affected area of ground.  If she claims her sole purpose was to care for the course, would she be subject to a penalty for altering her line of play, even though it's 10-feet to the right and a wedge is being used?

3)  Lastly, would the penalty be assessed for altering the course on her first pitch where it could roll through it, or her second pitch where it could be in her line of play if she completely duffs the wedge?

My guesses:  1- yes, 2- no, only because the penalty would be assessed after the first shot, 3 - first pitch

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I seem to remember this happening a few years ago. I want to say it was Camilo Villegas. I'll see if I can find it.
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I seem to remember this happening a few years ago. I want to say it was Camilo Villegas. I'll see if I can find it.

It was.  They discussed it on their broadcast.  He tamped down the divot with his club, but same effect.

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It was.  They discussed it on their broadcast.  He tamped down the divot with his club, but same effect.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't mildly impressed by my own memory. :-D I did find a thread we had about it, but it was more about the fact that someone called in point out the violation, not about the violating itself: http://thesandtrap.com/t/43116/should-viewers-be-able-to-call-in-rules-violations/0_30 I'll let the smarter Rules guys answer your questions.

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Didn't see it so it's hard to say anything definitive but remember R1-2 is intent based.  There must be an action with the intent (to purposely) influence the movement of the ball in play.

The fact that the ball returned to the repaired spot, in of itself, is not a penalty.  If she saw that the ball might return to that spot, and repaired the divot because of this, then a penalty.

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Decision 1-2/8 should help with this.

http://www.usga.org/Rule-Books/Rules-of-Golf/Decision-01/#d1-2-8

As you see the sequence of events is important.   If the player repairs the divot or whatever before knowing that  the ball is going to roll back down the hill there won't be a breach.

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