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iacas

Rule 3-3, Arnold Palmer, and Ken Venturi

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In 1958, Arnold Palmer hit his ball over the 12th green in the final round at Augusta National in the Masters.

His ball was half embedded, and he asked the walking official for a ruling as he felt he should get a free drop. The free drop was denied. He played out the hole, making a 5, and then, with a defiant attitude, dropped his ball near where it had been embedded and played out the hole again, making a 3 this time.

The 3 was upheld, and Arnold Palmer won his first major and first Masters.

Ken Venturi was pissed about it.

Not because he disagreed that Arnie wasn't entitled to free relief. He was.

But because Arnie played a shot with his ball (four, actually) before invoking 3-3: his right to play a second ball.*

* It was 11-5 in 1958, I believe: http://www.ruleshistory.com/rules1956.html#11 .

Rule 3-3 - http://www.usga.org/rules/rules-and-decisions.html#!rule-03,3-3

a. Procedure for Competitor

In stroke play only, if a competitor is doubtful of his rights or the correct procedure during the play of a hole, he may, without penalty, complete the hole with two balls. To proceed under this Rule, he must decide to play two balls after the doubtful situation has arisen and before taking further action (e.g., making a stroke at the original ball).

The competitor should announce to his marker or a fellow-competitor:

  • that he intends to play two balls; and

  • which ball he wishes to count if the Rules permit the procedure used for that ball.

Before returning his score card, the competitor must report the facts of the situation to the Committee. If he fails to do so, he is disqualified

If the competitor has taken further action before deciding to play two balls, he has not proceeded under Rule 3-3 and the score with the original ball counts. The competitor incurs no penalty for playing the second ball.

The red part is important. You don't get to decide, after the fact, that you want to try that all again because maybe the committee will rule in your favor about something that happened four shots ago.

Just an FYI, should you ever need to invoke 3-3.

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Suppose I'm in a similar situation, but both balls end up with the same score.  Do I still need to report the facts to the committee before returning the scorecard?  A strict reading says "yes" to me.

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5 minutes ago, Shindig said:

Suppose I'm in a similar situation, but both balls end up with the same score.  Do I still need to report the facts to the committee before returning the scorecard?  A strict reading says "yes" to me.

Yes.

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In 1958, the player was only required to inform his marker of his intent, not his fellow competitor.  The fact that Venturi was not notified is not relevant unless he was Palmer's marker, and I don't know the facts well enough to know who his marker may have been, or if he was informed.

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1 hour ago, Shindig said:

Suppose I'm in a similar situation, but both balls end up with the same score.  Do I still need to report the facts to the committee before returning the scorecard?  A strict reading says "yes" to me.

The answer is yes, but that did not used to be the case. From memory I believe 2008 was the change, at that time it was not required to inform the committee if the score with both balls was the same.

I was at a Rules workshop the previous year when someone asked what if the scores with both balls were not made in accordance with the Rules? John Morrisett said that had not been contemplated and the next year the change was made.

As a footnote to the incident, 34-1b does not specify a time limit time limit for a DQ, apparently Venturi pursued the matter for 50 years!

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38 minutes ago, Fourputt said:

In 1958, the player was only required to inform his marker of his intent, not his fellow competitor.  The fact that Venturi was not notified is not relevant unless he was Palmer's marker, and I don't know the facts well enough to know who his marker may have been, or if he was informed.

Palmer didn't decide to play a second ball until after he'd holed out with his first ball.

30 minutes ago, Martyn W said:

As a footnote to the incident, 34-1b does not specify a time limit time limit for a DQ, apparently Venturi pursued the matter for 50 years!

In the book I'm reading now (Men in Green), Venturi says Clifford Roberts apologized for allowing Palmer's 3 to stand.

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3 hours ago, iacas said:

Palmer didn't decide to play a second ball until after he'd holed out with his first ball.

In the book I'm reading now (Men in Green), Venturi says Clifford Roberts apologized for allowing Palmer's 3 to stand.

Is that certain knowledge, or just assumed?  He could have told his marker prior to playing the first ball.  If no one but his marker heard him say it, then we would still have the same situation as we are now discussing.  I just find it quite odd that a referee would make such a ridiculous mistake and that it wouldn't be openly and vehemently and immediately challenged.  I realize that Palmer was more popular than Venturi, but rules are rules.  

Venturi has shown his relative ignorance of the rules in the past when in the broadcast booth, most notably the infamous tale of Tiger and the Boulder.  Not to impugn his memory, but did he know enough at the time to ask Arnold's marker, and is he subsequently "remembering" it right?

I don't know but I'm just a natural skeptic in cases like this that seem to come to the spotlight long after the fact when there is no impartial way to verify the details of the event.

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4 minutes ago, Fourputt said:

Is that certain knowledge, or just assumed?

Venturi was his marker AND this is his entire bone of contention.

http://espn.go.com/golf/masters08/columns/story?id=3321633&columnist=harig_bob

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That's what I asked in my first post.   I still find it very strange that any committee in a major competition would fail on such a basic rule.  That would never happen even in my men's club.

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Note: This thread is 1578 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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