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iacas

"Intent" in the 2019 Proposed Rules

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I've never been a fan of the "intent" stuff in the Rules of Golf. There are a few, like the Hideki situation, where they just muddy the waters and let a player who is less than honest skate.

I looked for the word "intent" in the 2019 proposed rules PDF and found only four instances:

1. 3.2 - Match Play

Quote

A concession is made only when clearly communicated, either verbally or by an action that clearly shows the player’s intent to concede the stroke, the hole or the match.

2. 5.5a - Practice during play

Quote

A practice swing made with no intent to strike a ball.

3. 14.4 - Dropping, etc.

Quote

(re: a ball in play:) It is again in play when replaced, dropped or placed with the intent for it to be in play.

4. Definition of "Replace."

Quote

To place a ball by hand on the spot from which it was lifted or moved by setting the ball down and letting it go, with the intent for it to stay on that spot and to be in play.

Good!


One of the places intent has mattered was the definition of a stroke. That definition still includes "intent" without using the word:

Quote

Stroke

The forward movement of the club made to strike the ball.

But a stroke has not been made if a player decides during the downswing not to strike the ball and avoids doing so:
• By deliberately stopping the clubhead before it reaches the ball or,
• If unable to stop, by deliberately missing the ball.

The player’s score for a hole or a round is described as a number of “strokes,” adding up the number of strokes the player made with the club at the ball and any penalty strokes. (See Rule 3.1c.)


Obviously other versions of the word "intent" can appear, like "intended." I searched for "inten" as well and came up with 23 pages in addition to the four above. Some non-notable ones included using equipment in an abnormal or "unintended" way, the area of the "intended" stance or swing (this version, re: the stance or swing, accounted for many of these), when the player intends or doesn't intend to stay in his stance to make a swing, etc. One of those searches even turned up "maintenance."

Heck, the only notable - and barely at that - time the letters "inten" appear other than the four times above are in the definition of Line of Play - the definition is the line on which the player intends for the ball to go. This could affect whether they improve or mark their line of play. These tend to be pretty obvious, though.

Otherwise it appears the word has been removed - thankfully - from a lot of rules, like the 1-2 one, and for the better.

What do you guys think?

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Yeah, I'm not in favor of intent as an element of a rule either.  

I'm not where I can check right now, but isn't intent currently mentioned in the application of substances to the clubface?

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I like rules that have little to no grey areas.  I want a clear line to say whether or not a rule was broken.  Accidentally doing something shouldn't relieve them of a potential penalty.  It can sometimes suck, but that's how we learn.  Intent is a term that is needed in some places but not in others.  So I guess my answer would be, to use it sparingly and to avoid using it if you can.

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20 minutes ago, David in FL said:

I'm not where I can check right now, but isn't intent currently mentioned in the application of substances to the clubface?

You're able to post here, so you're able to check the Rules of Golf. :-)

And yes, that is one of the areas that's a little grey for my tastes right now.

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Not a fan of "intent" as it is impossible to prove. I think we all know that player who plays a little fast and loose with any rule that has a grey area. I am a black and white kind of guy, some say that makes me somewhat crusty in my opinions.

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2 hours ago, dennyjones said:

Say what you mean, mean what you say.

`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master - - that's all.'

`When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.'

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51 minutes ago, Rulesman said:

`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master - - that's all.'

`When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.'

clearly Mr. Dumpty was PUSHED

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10 hours ago, iacas said:

Otherwise it appears the word has been removed - thankfully - from a lot of rules, like the 1-2 one, and for the better.

That's definitely a change for the better.  I agree with others here that "intent" is sort of a last resort when it comes to rules (this isn't just a problem in golf; it's created some weird rulings with intentional foul rules in basketball, for example).

Even the four examples that are left seem odd.

I can see why you'd want the 3.2 Match Play rule...you don't want to have to make concession verbal, since that seems a little fussy.  But, if you wanted to avoid any ambiguity, it'd make sense.  That's why they have the challenge flag in the NFL.  It's dumb at times, and maybe overly "official", but at least it's unambiguous.

5.5a - Practice During Play, "A practice swing made with no intent to strike a ball."  -  This one seems redundant, given "While playing a hole, a player must not make a practice stroke at any ball on or off the course."  I don't see the situation that exception covers.  I guess you'd just end up interpreting whether a stroke was "at" a ball, which is sort of the same thing?

The dropping and replacing ones are also strange.  It seems like a player could "plead out" of a bad drop by saying that the ball slipped out of his/her hand.  And, why is intent necessary in the "replace" example?  Would there ever be a time where you'd place the ball in its previous spot WITHOUT the intent for it to be in play?

I'm being a bit fussy, but it seems silly to go so far towards eliminating it and then leave these examples in the Rules.

@iacas - based on discussions you've had, was there a conscious effort in the drafting to eliminate "intent"?  Or was it just a biproduct of simplification?

10 hours ago, iacas said:

Obviously other versions of the word "intent" can appear, like "intended." I searched for "inten" as well and came up with 23 pages in addition to the four above. Some non-notable ones included using equipment in an abnormal or "unintended" way, the area of the "intended" stance or swing (this version, re: the stance or swing, accounted for many of these), when the player intends or doesn't intend to stay in his stance to make a swing, etc. One of those searches even turned up "maintenance."

There is one big one that's sort of similar: "accidentally".  By definition, that implies intent, right?

"Accidentally" occurs 28 times in the rules, and some of them (in my quick review) create some gray areas.

 

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13 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

5.5a - Practice During Play, "A practice swing made with no intent to strike a ball."  -  This one seems redundant, given "While playing a hole, a player must not make a practice stroke at any ball on or off the course."  I don't see the situation that exception covers.  I guess you'd just end up interpreting whether a stroke was "at" a ball, which is sort of the same thing?

I'm not sure what you mean.

A practice swing at a ball (any ball) is not the same as a practice swing without an intent to hit any ball. I've seen some players swing over top of their golf ball. That's a "practice swing" that isn't a stroke or "practice" (in violation of the rule).

13 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

The dropping and replacing ones are also strange.  It seems like a player could "plead out" of a bad drop by saying that the ball slipped out of his/her hand.

Not so weird. You can accidentally drop a ball. Doesn't mean you're dropping it so you can play it.

13 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

And, why is intent necessary in the "replace" example?

Because, say on the putting green, you can place a ball without intending to play it from there. Maybe you're just placing it so you don't have to carry it around, or your caddie can place it down behind the ball so you can get a read but he didn't replace it for it to be played.

13 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

based on discussions you've had, was there a conscious effort in the drafting to eliminate "intent"?  Or was it just a biproduct of simplification?

I think perhaps a bit of both.

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19 minutes ago, iacas said:

I've seen some players swing over top of their golf ball.

I wouldn't consider that to be "at" the ball...that was only point; the subjective nature of "at" makes the "intent" part unnecessary.

21 minutes ago, iacas said:

Because, say on the putting green, you can place a ball without intending to play it from there.

But you'd never place it on the "spot from which it was lifted or moved", right?  I'd think it would be simpler to just say that once the ball is placed back where it was, it's in play again.  It would be on the players and caddies to make sure there's no confusion, and that they place the ball far away from where it was.

Anyway, this was just nitpicking.  I guess my point was that if you really wanted to get rid of intent entirely, you probably could (the dropping one is probably the toughest, since it's easy to envision an accidental drop).

 

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2 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

I wouldn't consider that to be "at" the ball...that was only point; the subjective nature of "at" makes the "intent" part unnecessary.

The definition doesn't include "at".

It simply says "A practice swing made with no intent to strike a ball."

2 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

But you'd never place it on the "spot from which it was lifted or moved", right?  I'd think it would be simpler to just say that once the ball is placed back where it was, it's in play again. It would be on the players and caddies to make sure there's no confusion, and that they place the ball far away from where it was.

Meh. Feels nit-picky. Maybe you need to replace the ball not so you can hit it but so you can measure? I don't know.

2 minutes ago, Hardspoon said:

Anyway, this was just nitpicking.  I guess my point was that if you really wanted to get rid of intent entirely, you probably could (the dropping one is probably the toughest, since it's easy to envision an accidental drop).

I don't think those four places are likely to cause an issue like Hideki's issue, where intent was replaced by "deliberate."

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16 minutes ago, Lihu said:

Intention should never be part of a rule.

Never?

Have you ever accidentally knocked the ball off the tee on the tee box? ;-) 

It's only one example, but without intent as a component of what constitutes a "stroke", all sorts of issues come up.

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1 hour ago, David in FL said:

Never?

Have you ever accidentally knocked the ball off the tee on the tee box? ;-) 

It's only one example, but without intent as a component of what constitutes a "stroke", all sorts of issues come up.

Yes, but I’m thinking that that should be a stroke plus the next tee up.

If Rule’s are cut and dry, then they’re  easier to follow.

Edited by Lihu

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21 minutes ago, Lihu said:

Yes, but I’m thinking that that should be a stroke plus the next tee up.

If Rule’s are cut and dry, then they’re  easier to follow.

So, at what point is that tee ball "in play"?  As it stands now, not until you make a stroke at it, which requires intent.  Which is why accidentally knocking it off the tee isn't a breach.

Would you change that?  

 

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34 minutes ago, David in FL said:

So, at what point is that tee ball "in play"?  As it stands now, not until you make a stroke at it, which requires intent.  Which is why accidentally knocking it off the tee isn't a breach.

Would you change that?  

If someone sets up that close to the ball before taking a stroke then it is an accident, just like other things we have argued about. Moving the ball 1/2" like Lexi did? Or tamping down a divot after seeing that the ball is not going anywhere near the divot like Hideki did?

If we have no intentions in any rules, even being careless at the tee box, then it would we simpler and easier to explain to a wider group of golfers that you must follow rules at all times instead of having a bunch of confusing exceptions. Any exception is  or could be confusing to new golfers. 

If I had my way on this particular rule, the ball is in play once any part of the club makes contact with the ball when preparing to take a shot. Doesn't matter what is his intent.

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2 hours ago, Lihu said:

Intention should never be part of a rule.

@Lihu, c'mon.

Also, what if someone hits a ball and the ball hits you? There's a big difference if the ball hits you, or if you intentionally reach out to swat the ball. And if the ball is your partner's or your opponent's.

1 minute ago, Lihu said:

If someone sets up that close to the ball before taking a stroke then it is an accident, just like other things we have argued about.

What other "accidents" have we been talking about?

Also, if by "accident" you mean "not intentional" then you're not saying the same thing as "intention should never be part of a rule." You're now arguing the opposite.

1 minute ago, Lihu said:

Moving the ball 1/2" like Lexi did?

She moved the ball more than half an inch.

1 minute ago, Lihu said:

Or tamping down a divot after seeing that the ball is not going anywhere near the divot like Hideki did?

Bullshit, @Lihu. The ball rolled back very near to it, and at the time he tamped it down, it was possible for the ball to roll exactly back to that spot. That's probably why he tamped it down. He looked at the ball, saw it headed back there, and tamped it down.

1 minute ago, Lihu said:

If we have no intentions in any rules, even being careless at the tee box, then it would we simpler and easier to explain to a wider group of golfers that you must follow rules at all times instead of having a bunch of confusing exceptions. Any exception is  or could be confusing to new golfers.

What's confusing about determining whether someone intended to knock a ball 2" off the tee with their driver?

1 minute ago, Lihu said:

If I had my way on this particular rule, the ball is in play once any part of the club makes contact with the ball when preparing to take a shot. Doesn't matter what is his intent.

Yeah, sorry, that's just stupid. You may be the only person in the world who would say that.

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