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bkuehn1952

Ball Accidentally Moved by Outside Agency (Human) During Search

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I recall this year during the US Open Championship there was a situation where Dustin Johnson had a ball go into a particularly gnarly patch of rough.  Lots of people were searching and one of the searchers stepped on a ball.  It turned out to be the Johnson's ball.  The ruling was that since they could not determine exactly where the ball had been (it was under LOTS of long matted down grass), the player was allowed to drop.  He went from being buried under the grass to dropping it on top (still a crappy lie but at least he could see it).  If he or his caddy had moved the ball, it would have been a penalty but since it was an outside agency, there was no penalty.

The 2019 version of the USGA Rules appears to say he would have had to bury the ball back under the grass at the spot he could best estimate the ball had been.  No penalty even if he was the person that inadvertently moved his own ball but no free drop, either.

Am I reading and understanding this correctly?

Edited by bkuehn1952
emphasis added to phrase

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1 hour ago, bkuehn1952 said:

I recall this year during the US Open Championship there was a situation where Dustin Johnson had a ball go into a particularly gnarly patch of rough.  Lots of people were searching and one of the searchers stepped on a ball.  It turned out to be the Johnson's ball.  The ruling was that since they could not determine exactly where the ball had been (it was under LOTS of long matted down grass), the player was allowed to drop.  He went from being buried under the grass to dropping it on top (still a crappy lie but at least he could see it).  If he or his caddy had moved the ball, it would have been a penalty but since it was an outside agency, there was no penalty.

Yes.

1 hour ago, bkuehn1952 said:

The 2019 version of the USGA Rules appears to say he would have had to bury the ball back under the grass at the spot he could best estimate the ball had been.  No penalty even if he was the person that inadvertently moved his own ball but no free drop, either.

Am I reading and understanding this correctly?

Yes.

Watch the video at the end of this post:

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In 2018 and before, there was a running joke among Rules Officials who spent any time officiating higher level events about players searching for their balls. They’d tell these tales at Rules…

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Thanks!  I will need to keep an eye on my fellow codgers during our senior tournaments.  They will remember the part about no penalty for moving their ball but "forget" about placing it back down in the mess.  😉

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Yes, if you couldn’t see it well enough that you stepped on it you shouldn’t be able to see it very well after you replace it.

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