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PGA Tour Players Not Marking Balls when In Position to Assist Another Player, #Backstopping

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Another term comes to mind.

'Gamesmanship'. But this is not match play.

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Can't understand what all the fuss is about. The chip could easily go to the right side of the ball and come to rest a lot further from the cup.

So the guy who is playing from outside the green decided to take his chances. 

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Yes, MacDutch. My reaction to this incident just proves that there will always be different strokes for different folks. :)

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11 hours ago, Buckeyebowman said:

And I don't know if it's USGA chapter and verse, but I've always thought that a player could ask a FC to mark their ball, whether it's in their line or just a visual distraction. 

http://www.usga.org/rules/rules-and-decisions.html#!decision-22

It is specifically covered in the decisions, you may have a FC mark his ball if it interferes either physically or mentally with your shot.

6 hours ago, MacDutch said:

Can't understand what all the fuss is about. The chip could easily go to the right side of the ball and come to rest a lot further from the cup.

So the guy who is playing from outside the green decided to take his chances. 

The issue is that Wagner's ball on the green could stop  Wheatcroft's chip, if it's hit too hard, helping him stay closer to the hole.  The ball probably should have been marked, as long as marking it didn't delay play, to avoid that assistance.  Since there was plenty of time to mark the ball without delaying play, it appears that Wagner specifically chose to leave it there, specifically chose a course of action that had the potential to help Wheatcroft.  That choice is inherently unfair to the other players, who may not be getting assistance from their playing partners.

I should mention, a similar situation came up late yesterday with Rory and Rickie, I believe on 18.  Rickie was short right, Rory was in the hazard left.  Rory dropped and hit up.  Rickie was ready to play, and did so, before Rory marked his ball.  In this case, for Rory to go mark his ball would have delayed Rickie's play, so it seemed perfectly appropriate to me for Rory to leave his ball there.  I'm also not sure it was all that close, to where it could really have helped.

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8 hours ago, CCC said:

Gary McCord or no Gary McCord. This is what I'm talking about.

Just look at this. Now, you tell me that you would not ask your FC to mark his ball. And why would you even have to ask?

I just don't get it. There he is standing there ( for what seemed like forever) with his hands on his hips. And neither he nor his caddy are in any hurry to pick up his ball and clean it?

Protecting the Field? How about adding the term 'Playing Slow'.

Like I said, this picture is why I posted my original comment. This picture aggravates me to no end. Are these guys just that clueless about what is so obvious to even the casual observer? So don't give Gary McCord a hard time about his comments about this situation. Or is there something else going on here? But, what do I know?

And is anyone surprised that the chip up to the hole did not hit the ball sitting right next to the cup? Because the chip missed to the left of the hole. Hmmmmm....I wonder why?

Thank you Missouri Swede. This picture is worth a thousand words.

If the green slopes right to left as we're looking at the picture then I'd certainly ask (tell) him to mark.  Otherwise it's not a detriment to me (its also possibly advantageous) so I'm not going to bother, but he should be doing it on his own for the sake of the rest of the field.

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11 hours ago, CCC said:

I just don't get it. There he is standing there ( for what seemed like forever) with his hands on his hips. And neither he nor his caddy are in any hurry to pick up his ball and clean it?

Thank you Missouri Swede. This picture is worth a thousand words.

You're welcome.

What makes it look even worse is that a minute earlier Wagner was closer to his ball than where he ended up standing.  They cut away to his previous pitch, so we don't get to see how close he walked, what he did when he turned around, etc. He's looking in Wheatcroft's direction, but watching the video, can't tell--might have been turning to talk to his caddie.  

(Different camera angle, but compare where he is relative to the pale strip along the edge of the green at the right, when he's walking in the direction of the pin...):

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 12.49.57 PM.png

(...which is where he went back to and stood):

Wheatcroft and Wagner.jpeg

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13 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

http://www.usga.org/rules/rules-and-decisions.html#!decision-22

It is specifically covered in the decisions, you may have a FC mark his ball if it interferes either physically or mentally with your shot.

The issue is that Wagner's ball on the green could stop  Wheatcroft's chip, if it's hit too hard, helping him stay closer to the hole.  The ball probably should have been marked, as long as marking it didn't delay play, to avoid that assistance.  Since there was plenty of time to mark the ball without delaying play, it appears that Wagner specifically chose to leave it there, specifically chose a course of action that had the potential to help Wheatcroft.  That choice is inherently unfair to the other players, who may not be getting assistance from their playing partners.

I should mention, a similar situation came up late yesterday with Rory and Rickie, I believe on 18.  Rickie was short right, Rory was in the hazard left.  Rory dropped and hit up.  Rickie was ready to play, and did so, before Rory marked his ball.  In this case, for Rory to go mark his ball would have delayed Rickie's play, so it seemed perfectly appropriate to me for Rory to leave his ball there.  I'm also not sure it was all that close, to where it could really have helped.

Thank you, Dave P! And that pic clears things up so much. Now, I don't know if the green breaks from right to left or not. But a ball in that position would certainly be a distraction for me! But apparently, the guy chipping didn't seem to care if the ball was marked or not. So who knows?

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9 hours ago, Missouri Swede said:

You're welcome.

What makes it look even worse is that a minute earlier Wagner was closer to his ball than where he ended up standing.  They cut away to his previous pitch, so we don't get to see how close he walked, what he did when he turned around, etc. He's looking in Wheatcroft's direction, but watching the video, can't tell--might have been turning to talk to his caddie.  

(Different camera angle, but compare where he is relative to the pale strip along the edge of the green at the right, when he's walking in the direction of the pin...):

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 12.49.57 PM.png

(...which is where he went back to and stood):

Wheatcroft and Wagner.jpeg

Before the pictures, it wasn't clear to me why McCord would have said anything, since I know he's seen this all the time, if not every week.  But these paint it pretty clear that this is quite different than he's used to seeing.  Would love to know what was going through Wagners head during those two minutes.

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1 hour ago, JetFan1983 said:

Tiger seems to think this move is cool.

And that type of assistance is exactly what the FC should avoid giving to Tiger, or to anyone else he's paired with.  Without the other ball there, Tiger would have had a 10-footer instead of a 3-footer.

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20 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

And that type of assistance is exactly what the FC should avoid giving to Tiger, or to anyone else he's paired with.  Without the other ball there, Tiger would have had a 10-footer instead of a 3-footer.

Yea, I'm cool with them outlawing it, but I really don't mind either way.

I'm fine with bifurcating the rules too. I don't really feel like marking my ball whenever someone is pitching onto the green, but only because I'm lazy, which isn't a very good reason for bifurcation, I admit. There's something of a gray area here for amateurs and making play slightly slower possibly by changing this rule, but I could be wrong.

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1 minute ago, JetFan1983 said:

Yea, I'm cool with them outlawing it, but I really don't mind either way.

I'm fine with bifurcating the rules too. I don't really feel like marking my ball whenever someone is pitching onto the green, but only because I'm lazy, which isn't a very good reason for bifurcation, I admit. There's something of a gray area here for amateurs and making play slightly slower possibly by changing this rule, but I could be wrong.

The Rules already prohibit a player from asking his FC to leave the ball in place, or agreeing that a ball will be left in place.  For pace of play reasons, I doubt that the rule would be changed to always require that a ball be lifted if it could assist another player.  The problem, as I see it, is what appears to be an unspoken agreement between two players to basically help each other if the situation occurs by leaving a ball in place.  Because they've never spoken and agreed out loud, it may not be against the rules, but it appears to violate the intent of the rules.

What we don't know form the video  you posted is whether that ball could have been marked before Tiger played, without causing delay.  If his FC had time to mark and lift it, and chose not to, he helped Tiger.  To be honest, Tiger really didn't need anyone's help through most of his career.

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18 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

The Rules already prohibit a player from asking his FC to leave the ball in place, or agreeing that a ball will be left in place.  For pace of play reasons, I doubt that the rule would be changed to always require that a ball be lifted if it could assist another player.  The problem, as I see it, is what appears to be an unspoken agreement between two players to basically help each other if the situation occurs by leaving a ball in place.  Because they've never spoken and agreed out loud, it may not be against the rules, but it appears to violate the intent of the rules.

What we don't know form the video  you posted is whether that ball could have been marked before Tiger played, without causing delay.  If his FC had time to mark and lift it, and chose not to, he helped Tiger.  To be honest, Tiger really didn't need anyone's help through most of his career.

We're on the same page, no worries. I agree it's an unspoken yet somewhat shady move that violates the spirit of the rule. 

So what would be the new rule? 

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Just a humorous FYI - that tiger video is the exact instance I spoke about in my post earlier.  Lol. (The post where I quoted the long exchange from the old thread)


In practice, for me at least, what I do if im in tigers spot is start my routine as soon as I realize that his ball is not in a disadvantageous position for me.  If I'm in gallachers spot, I just look at tiger and if he's started his routine I think "ok, I guess he doesn't need me to mark it" but if he looks like he's waiting, then I'll go mark it.

I don't see how you'd write a rule to eliminate that without mucking up pace of play.

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5 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:

Just a humorous FYI - that tiger video is the exact instance I spoke about in my post earlier.  Lol. (The post where I quoted the long exchange from the old thread)

Yea, haha, when I read your post there, I was like, "hmmm that sounds familiar. I wonder if he's referring to the video I'm about to post?..."

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Off the top of my head, it may not change much, but you could make it a possible penalty or DQ if the committee has reason to believe that the act is being done in a "scratch my back/scratch yours" sort of way. Perhaps the threat of it would be enough, or as with many things, someone could be made an example of in a pretty clear-cut case.

There's really little consideration for a fellow competitor doing something intentionally to assist a player. The Rules of Golf sort of assume that everyone will be out to protect themselves and thus the field.

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Unless the other ball is in the line of the hole then theres no reason to mark unless opponent asks because of distraction.

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26 minutes ago, Aflighter said:

Unless the other ball is in the line of the hole then theres no reason to mark unless opponent asks because of distraction.

That's incorrect. A ball a foot right of the hole, or a foot behind and two feet right of the hole, is in a position where it can help. Any competitor in the field can have that ball marked.

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