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The R&A Resists Embedded Ball Through the Green

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So… the USGA supports and would support making the embedded ball rule offer relief through the green (basically everywhere but the green, the teeing ground of the hole you're on, and hazards and OB), but the R&A resists. Maybe in 2020 they'll change their mind a bit.

Plus, as many have pointed out, it would let them remove the idea of "closely mown" grass from the Rules of Golf.

Anyway, most of the time, courses and tournaments here play the embedded ball through the green as a local rule, which is allowed, but it has to be specified or it's only in closely mown areas.

Note: an embedded ball must be denting the soil somewhat. A ball that's buried in the rough isn't necessarily embedded.

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Yep.  That's what I've always heard was the roadblock, and the only reason that the rule is written as it is today.

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I guess things takes time.  D4-4c/1  was a recent compromise.  I was told the R&A was against changing how extra clubs must be declared out of play before the round starts. In the end an agreement was reached only allowing the "narrow circumstances" in the decision.  So if you have two extra clubs the rule change isn't going to help you.

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What's the reasoning behind not getting relief from an embedded ball in the rough? I mean, isn't the point of getting relief so you don't destroy the course? Is it just because they don't like you getting relief when you hit into the rough?

Honestly, I barely knew that was a rule because it seems every competition has a local rule allowing relief from an embedded ball in the rough.

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During the discussions on Rule changes, there are "gives and takes" on each side.  There are three groups involved in the discussions - the USGA Rules Committee, the R&A Rules Committee and the Joint Rules Committee. 

On this particular Rule/Local Rule discussion, the R&A are "protective" of their links golf courses, where the substrate is mainly sand, and that is where the Exceptions in the Local Rule come into effect.  It's my understanding that they do not want to provide relief for a ball embedded in sand off a closely-mown area on links courses.  The three groups have reached agreement on this situation, and that is just fine, as agreements should be.

As in any agreement between gentlemen, there are no winners or losers, they just move on together.

Edited by rogolf

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So… the USGA supports and would support making the embedded ball rule offer relief through the green (basically everywhere but the green, the teeing ground of the hole you're on, and hazards and OB), but the R&A resists.

Is this a recent story?  What's new about it?

Has 'stones in bunkers' been revisited?

Certainly there is evidence that the R&A have relaxed their view about preferred lies TTG.

 

Edited by Rulesman

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During the discussions on Rule changes, there are "gives and takes" on each side.  There are three groups involved in the discussions - the USGA Rules Committee, the R&A Rules Committee and the Joint Rules Committee. 

On this particular Rule/Local Rule discussion, the R&A are "protective" of their links golf courses, where the substrate is mainly sand, and that is where the Exceptions in the Local Rule come into effect.  It's my understanding that they do not want to provide relief for a ball embedded in sand off a closely-mown area on links courses.  The three groups have reached agreement on this situation, and that is just fine, as agreements should be.

As in any agreement between gentlemen, there are no winners or losers, they just move on together.

Interesting point. I guess that would apply to desert courses with waste areas too. A plugged ball in a sandy area is a harder shot.

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11 hours ago, DeadMan said:

What's the reasoning behind not getting relief from an embedded ball in the rough? I mean, isn't the point of getting relief so you don't destroy the course? Is it just because they don't like you getting relief when you hit into the rough?

I don't think that's the reason. It's just a tougher shot to play, if your ball plugs in the rough. You can take an unplayable, or smash it out and risk getting very very dirty. :-)

11 hours ago, rogolf said:

During the discussions on Rule changes, there are "gives and takes" on each side.  There are three groups involved in the discussions - the USGA Rules Committee, the R&A Rules Committee and the Joint Rules Committee. 

YEs, very much these give-and-takes. It's a negotiation. The USGA really wants one thing, so they "give" on something they care less about to satisfy the R&A, or vice versa.

11 hours ago, rogolf said:

On this particular Rule/Local Rule discussion, the R&A are "protective" of their links golf courses, where the substrate is mainly sand, and that is where the Exceptions in the Local Rule come into effect.  It's my understanding that they do not want to provide relief for a ball embedded in sand off a closely-mown area on links courses.  The three groups have reached agreement on this situation, and that is just fine, as agreements should be.

I'd be curious to know how often that occurs.

Point of note: and and loose soil are loose impediments only on the putting green, but if your ball is embedded in a sand-filled divot hole in the fairway (closely mown area), you're entitled to relief. It has to be embedded in its own pitch mark, though - it can't have just rolled in.

6 hours ago, Rulesman said:

Is this a recent story?  What's new about it?

Not particularly. But I hadn't seen it written up, lately, and so the information was new to me.

6 hours ago, Rulesman said:

Has 'stones in bunkers' been revisited?

I could ask, but I'd rather not pester the guys at the USGA. :-)

6 hours ago, Rulesman said:

Certainly there is evidence that the R&A have relaxed their view about preferred lies TTG.

Yes.

3 hours ago, boogielicious said:

Interesting point. I guess that would apply to desert courses with waste areas too. A plugged ball in a sandy area is a harder shot.

Yes, exactly. Because those areas are not hazards they are also through the green. Heck, I wonder if there are more desert courses to worry about that sort of thing than there are courses in Scotland where the R&A worry about such things?

(Of course, the R&A is in charge of the Rules for most of the rest of the world, too. And the rest of the world has sandy desert areas, too.)

That's a good point. It may be the final thing that prevents the USGA from winning this particular battle.

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3 hours ago, boogielicious said:

Interesting point. I guess that would apply to desert courses with waste areas too. A plugged ball in a sandy area is a harder shot.

Yep.  A couple of years ago someone got dinged with that stipulation at Dubai.  Even though the local rule was in force, he was embedded in a sandy strip in weeds and was penalized for taking relief. (Or it might have been that he was denied relief, I'm not sure but it was posted on this forum at the time.  I know that there was conversation about it, because it was the first time I'd heard of that seemingly odd stipulation.)

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33 minutes ago, Fourputt said:

Yep.  A couple of years ago someone got dinged with that stipulation at Dubai.  Even though the local rule was in force, he was embedded in a sandy strip in weeds and was penalized for taking relief. (Or it might have been that he was denied relief, I'm not sure but it was posted on this forum at the time.  I know that there was conversation about it, because it was the first time I'd heard of that seemingly odd stipulation.)

I think it may have been Tiger.

I think he was playing under typical PGA Tour rules which employ the local rule for embedded balls through the green. The European Tour does not (often) employ that local rule.

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49 minutes ago, iacas said:

I think it may have been Tiger.

I think he was playing under typical PGA Tour rules which employ the local rule for embedded balls through the green. The European Tour does not (often) employ that local rule.

As I remember it, the local rule was in effect, but he didn't know about the "sandy soil" stipulation.

Quote

Harrington also has experience with rules violations, and Woods' exit because of a 2-stroke penalty was still a big subject at the tournament where Tiger tied for third a year ago.

In short, Woods -- who shot 72-75, thus missing the cut, and will make his PGA Tour debut next week at the Farmers Insurance Open -- took relief when the rules didn't allow it, although many players suggested it was not an easy issue. A close look at the area on the fifth hole where Woods' ball plugged beneath vegetation that was determined to be sand would not necessarily lead to that conclusion upon first glance.

 

"I tried to do the same thing in Dubai two years ago," said Harrington, who was stopped from doing so by a rules official who, at first, mistakenly believed he was entitled to a drop.

Rule 25-2 stipulates that balls embedded in closely mowed areas are entitled to relief, or a free drop. The various tours typically extend this rule to "through the green," which as European Tour rules official Andy McFee explained means "everywhere on the golf course except hazards. But it's very specific; and it refers to ground other than sand."

Woods, apparently, didn't realize his ball was embedded in sand. He asked playing partner Martin Kaymer for his opinion, and the German agreed the ball was embedded. So Woods didn't summon a rules official, took a drop and played on.

It was later discovered by the rules committee what Woods had done, and determined that his ball was in sand and that a free drop was not allowed. He either needed to play the ball or take an unplayable lie, which would have meant a 1-stroke penalty. By doing neither, Woods was given a 2-stroke penalty.

This is another issue with the rules that I feel is excessively punishing.  If a player makes an incorrect assessment as Tiger did, but ultimately still drops in a correct place as he would have under Rule 28, I don't see the justification for him getting 2 strokes rather than the one stroke if he had just declared the ball unplayable.  Supposedly the penalty is there only for assurance that the player doesn't gain an advantage by his mistake.  If one stroke is sufficient for that under rule 28 then it should still be applicable if the player mistakenly drops under a different rule, but drops in a correct place as Tiger did in this situation.

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18 minutes ago, Fourputt said:

As I remember it, the local rule was in effect, but he didn't know about the "sandy soil" stipulation.

Yeah: http://www.barryrhodes.com/2013/01/13-01-tiger-breaches-rule-re-embedded.html .

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iacas said:

YEs, very much these give-and-takes. It's a negotiation. The USGA really wants one thing, so they "give" on something they care less about to satisfy the R&A, or vice versa.

This is incorrect (could be BS as iacas sometimes says).  It is not a negotiation. It is about reaching agreement on what is acceptable for the game to all of the Committees involved, and, if there is no agreement, it's put off to another day.

 

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50 minutes ago, rogolf said:

This is incorrect (could be BS as iacas sometimes says).  It is not a negotiation. It is about reaching agreement on what is acceptable for the game to all of the Committees involved, and, if there is no agreement, it's put off to another day.

No, you know, I'm sticking by what I said, largely because I basically quoted one of the guys who is on that committee when I called it a "negotiation."

The USGA gives on one thing but expects to get something they really want included, or the R&A gives on something but insists that embedded ball through the green remain a Local Rule… etc.

What you call "reaching an agreement" I'm simply quoting someone and calling it a "negotiation." We're saying the same thing, but you're calling my statement "BS"? Okay…

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Giving and taking  as Iacas puts it,  suggests trading two separate matters against each other.  If you give way to our wishes  on Rule 55, we’ll accept what you want in Rule 77 no matter that there is no connection between either.      I have no inside knowledge, but I would be astonished and dismayed if that happened - outraged even.  I just can’t imagine a joint meeting  starting off “Well,  we gave way last time on 55;  we want our way on 77 this time because you owe us one."

Any “negotiation” ought to be entirely in terms of the one rule in question.  We think A, you think B.   Can we arrive at something which is acceptable to both of us?  

Edited by ColinL

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On 3/24/2016 at 9:10 PM, rogolf said:

During the discussions on Rule changes, there are "gives and takes" on each side.  There are three groups involved in the discussions - the USGA Rules Committee, the R&A Rules Committee and the Joint Rules Committee. 

On this particular Rule/Local Rule discussion, the R&A are "protective" of their links golf courses, where the substrate is mainly sand, and that is where the Exceptions in the Local Rule come into effect.  It's my understanding that they do not want to provide relief for a ball embedded in sand off a closely-mown area on links courses.  The three groups have reached agreement on this situation, and that is just fine, as agreements should be.

As in any agreement between gentlemen, there are no winners or losers, they just move on together.

In other words, for the R&A to "protect" their courses, the entire rest of the world has to live under a local rule because the R&A is so stubborn that they refuse to concede what I feel is a relatively insignificant point.  Would it really destroy the entire fabric of the links game to give relief in those rather unusual instances when a ball embeds in the rough?  In all the years I've watched, I've never seen this come up during the telecast of the Open.

It would make more sense to me for the R&A to have to accept the local rule for closely mowed areas and deal with that undefined region of the course and let the rest of the world have through the green, which is actually more consistent with the general scope of the rules.

That doesn't sound like "agreement" to me.  It sounds more like the only way to keep from having a split in the rules, the USGA was strongarmed onto going along with the R&A.

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1 hour ago, Fourputt said:

In other words, for the R&A to "protect" their courses, the entire rest of the world has to live under a local rule.........

I think you must have the wrong idea about the jurisdictions of the two ruling bodies.   The USGA is the ruling authority  for the USA and Mexico.  The R&A  is the ruling authority for ...... the rest of the world. ;-)

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