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Martyn W

Jason Day's Bad Drops at Firestone

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I did a little test this morning when at my club. I asked three members to drop a couple of balls (legally) when actually looking at a spot on the ground that I had indicated as a target. I didn't tell them why.Two had their hand above eye level. The other was at shoulder level.

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During my Rules Seminar they had two or three examples of players dropping incorrectly and being asked to drop properly. One was too low. The other two were too high.

Jason Day should have been asked to re-drop properly. Neither of those drops should have "counted."

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Just curious - what would those advocating that it was an incorrect drop say the consequences of the bad drop should be - disqualification?

Is it not the case that the RO on the spot is allowed to make the determination of what the proper drop should be? As long as the drop was made no closer to the hole in the predetermined spot should that not be sufficient to protect the field?

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18 minutes ago, Coronagolfman said:

Just curious - what would those advocating that it was an incorrect drop say the consequences of the bad drop should be - disqualification?

Is it not the case that the RO on the spot is allowed to make the determination of what the proper drop should be? As long as the drop was made no closer to the hole in the predetermined spot should that not be sufficient to protect the field?

The rule does not give the RO any latitude in the way that the player drops the ball.  All the RO does in such a case is determine whether the location requirement has been met.  The actual procedure for the act of dropping is narrowly defined:

Quote

20-2. Dropping and Re-Dropping

a. By Whom and How

A ball to be dropped under the Rules must be dropped by the player himself. He must stand erect, hold the ball at shoulder height and arm's length and drop it. If a ball is dropped by any other person or in any other manner and the error is not corrected as provided in Rule 20-6, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke

It should have cost Day a stroke for making an improper drop and not correcting his mistake.

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Guys it does not matter. The rules official was there and what happened happened with his blessing. So regardless if it was the wrong place and the wrong drop height it is a moot point. The tournament is over and the signing of the card is done and it is now a legal done deal. It is not like DJ's problem last week as he supposedly gave the RO who talked to him the wrong information that is why thet over ruled the decision made on the course. 

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At this point I don't remember the poster or the thread, but this would make a good example for him of a rul that is "penal for the sake of being penal."

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14 hours ago, Asheville said:

Pardon the cynicism, but the PGA Tour is little more than a TV show whose goal is to sell advertising for Buicks and Viagra. The referees are employees of the PGA Tour. They and the players are all friends. That's not to say that the referees aren't highly skilled or don't try, but look at who's paying their salaries. 

All professional sports are aimed at selling advertising.  For that matter, the same is true of college sports.  The aim of the NCAA isn't to figure out which school has the students who are the best at football, or golf, or basketball, or whatever else they play.  The MLB doesn't exist to figure out which city has the best baseball players. 

And while there are definitely cases where the players certainly don't know the rules, I think the players as a whole at least want to play by the rules, and (imo, unlike most other professional sports) do want as fair a contest as possible.  

But... I do agree with your overall point, and can see it becoming a problem for one rules official if he or she called out players more closely than others by a margin, or became known as "that rules official." 

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1 hour ago, Golfingdad said:

At this point I don't remember the poster or the thread, but this would make a good example for him of a rul that is "penal for the sake of being penal."

In that you are completely wrong.  If Day dropped improperly and got a favorable bounce and lie or line of play as a result of the extra height, then the rules official failed in his duty to protect the rest of the field by ensuring that the procedure was followed properly.  The penalty is in place to ensure that no advantage is gained by a breach of the rule. It is not for punishment. You need to read Tufts if you are going to make comments like that.

Next time when he doesn't want an unfavorable bounce, maybe he lowers his arm a foot or more to lessen the chance of a wayward bounce.  That is cheating, plain and simple.  It doesn't matter if an actual advantage was gained in this instance.  The rule must be enforced correctly across the board for equity.

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5 hours ago, Coronagolfman said:

Is it not the case that the RO on the spot is allowed to make the determination of what the proper drop should be?

He failed to do so. Jason Day did not drop properly. The RO failed in his duty.

4 hours ago, shanksalot said:

Guys it does not matter. The rules official was there and what happened happened with his blessing. So regardless if it was the wrong place and the wrong drop height it is a moot point. The tournament is over and the signing of the card is done and it is now a legal done deal. It is not like DJ's problem last week as he supposedly gave the RO who talked to him the wrong information that is why thet over ruled the decision made on the course. 

Nobody's saying it "matters" in that sense, but that doesn't mean it doesn't "matter" at all. It's still a point of discussion.

3 hours ago, Golfingdad said:

At this point I don't remember the poster or the thread, but this would make a good example for him of a rul that is "penal for the sake of being penal."

100% wrong, @Golfingdad. Unless you're just saying that this would be an example of that person (@Groucho Valentine), but the implication is that you feel it is "penal for the sake of being penal."

Also, you get to correct your drop. You can drop 17 times improperly and you still get to drop again, for free, without penalty. It's only if you drop improperly (without an RO's blessing) and then play the ball that you get the penalty.

@Fourputt already addressed that in more depth, though, so I'm done.

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Please. It makes no difference, and if it did, the rules itself is unfair as there are obviously players that are much taller than others!  If a head worth more of altitude in the drop makes a significant difference in the bounce, then Lingmerth is very much at a disadvantage vs. say DJ, or Keegan Bradley, or Mickelson or dozens of players well over 6 feet...

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6 minutes ago, sjduffers said:

Please. It makes no difference, and if it did, the rules itself is unfair as there are obviously players that are much taller than others!  If a head worth more of altitude in the drop makes a significant difference in the bounce, then Lingmerth is very much at a disadvantage vs. say DJ, or Keegan Bradley, or Mickelson or dozens of players well over 6 feet...

The rule isn't designed to equalize different players; it is intended to ensure that players drop from the same height each time, so they can't use drop height to alter the way the ball lands/rolls.

Once again, everyone is looking at a single instance and thinking "That didn't help him, so it shouldn't be against the rules." Sure, he didn't really gain an advantage here. That's not the point - the point is to have rules that ensure equity in the long-term.

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1 hour ago, Fourputt said:

In that you are completely wrong.  If Day dropped improperly and got a favorable bounce and lie or line of play as a result of the extra height, then the rules official failed in his duty to protect the rest of the field by ensuring that the procedure was followed properly.  The penalty is in place to ensure that no advantage is gained by a breach of the rule. It is not for punishment. You need to read Tufts if you are going to make comments like that.

Next time when he doesn't want an unfavorable bounce, maybe he lowers his arm a foot or more to lessen the chance of a wayward bounce.  That is cheating, plain and simple.  It doesn't matter if an actual advantage was gained in this instance.  The rule must be enforced correctly across the board for equity.

 

9 minutes ago, iacas said:

He failed to do so. Jason Day did not drop properly. The RO failed in his duty.

Nobody's saying it "matters" in that sense, but that doesn't mean it doesn't "matter" at all. It's still a point of discussion.

100% wrong, @Golfingdad. Unless you're just saying that this would be an example of that person (@Groucho Valentine), but the implication is that you feel it is "penal for the sake of being penal."

Also, you get to correct your drop. You can drop 17 times improperly and you still get to drop again, for free, without penalty. It's only if you drop improperly (without an RO's blessing) and then play the ball that you get the penalty.

@Fourputt already addressed that in more depth, though, so I'm done.

Whatever you guys say ... But it's still dumb if they get penalized for that.  Consider if a 6-6 guy gets the same favorable bounce for a "proper" drop that a 5-8 guy wouldn't get.

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Just now, Hardspoon said:

The rule isn't designed to equalize different players; it is intended to ensure that players drop from the same height each time, so they can't use drop height to alter the way the ball lands/rolls.

Once again, everyone is looking at a single instance and thinking "That didn't help him, so it shouldn't be against the rules." That's not the point - the point is to have rules that ensure equity in the long-term.

Perhaps, but, by design, the rule doesn't "protect the field" from anything. Some players will experience higher bounces than others leading to different results as you guys are arguing. That's not equity.

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3 minutes ago, sjduffers said:

Perhaps, but, by design, the rule doesn't "protect the field" from anything. Some players will experience higher bounces than others leading to different results as you guys are arguing. That's not equity.

What's the alternative, though? You have to prevent a "drop" from 2" above the ground. You have to prevent players from changing drop height to increase the chance a ball rolls (allowing them to place). 

Seems like this is a fine way to do it: "shoulder height".

I am glad he wasn't penalized, but jeez, it's not difficult to just follow the damn rule.

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4 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

What's the alternative, though? You have to prevent a "drop" from 2" above the ground. You have to prevent players from changing drop height to increase the chance a ball rolls (allowing them to place). 

Seems like this is a fine way to do it: "shoulder height".

Perhaps replace dropping by placing, as another thread suggests. There is already plenty of randomness with all the shots played as the ball lies, and people who have really practiced their drops usually (not always of course) find a way to place anyway.

For drops paid for (with a penalty), it wouldn't seem so bad, and for free drops, you are benefitting from a break already, so why not get an even better break, if you can choose the location of the ball?

I'd be fine with this... or leaving the rule alone. I'm just pointing out the somewhat irrational justification of this strict interpretation of the drop rule.

9 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

I am glad he wasn't penalized, but jeez, it's not difficult to just follow the damn rule.

Agreed.

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21 hours ago, Hardspoon said:

The wording of the rule is "must", so the drop has to be at shoulder level.  I didn't see the drop in question, but you could probably drop from what would be considered "shoulder level" even though your arm is pointing upwards (bottom of ball even with top of shoulder).  I'm curious what others here think.

Uh, oh. Better break out the rulers / measuring tape.

Maybe go back to throwing the ball for less individual control?

Edited by natureboy

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38 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

What's the alternative, though? You have to prevent a "drop" from 2" above the ground. You have to prevent players from changing drop height to increase the chance a ball rolls (allowing them to place). 

Seems like this is a fine way to do it: "shoulder height".

I am glad he wasn't penalized, but jeez, it's not difficult to just follow the damn rule.

Just like with DJ and his ball moving, the answer for that could be as @iacas suggested to just move the bar from 51% to something much higher and give the benefit of the doubt to the player.  The answer here is to just be less strict about the relation to the shoulder.   The difference between tall and short players shoulder heights is already probably a foot or so, so just get it in the vicinity of shoulder height and you're >5' off the ground. The whole point of the drop is to create randomness and that will happen equally effectively anywhere in that 5-6' range.

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