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It looks like Ian Poulter got his (wrong) way after bullying the rule official into giving a LWH drop despite the ball not being found in time in the hazard, or virtually certainly known to be into the hazard (nobody saw the ball enter the hazard) http://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/08/2017-pga-championship-ian-poulter-hazard-video-rules-official-argument http://golfweek.com/2017/08/13/ian-poulter-argues-over-ball-being-lost-in-interesting-rules-drama/ He makes such a fuss about the ball being into the hazard as where else could it be... and of course someone finds the ball after the 5 minutes have elapsed... outside the hazard! How could Poulter be certain his ball was in the hazard, had his ball not been found, when it turns out to have been (lost) outside the hazard? He should have had to go back to the tee under 27-1 instead of dropping outside the hazard, so he got away with at least one shot in his favor...
So, a discussion more for the Rules Geeks, not whether this is "fair" or "right" or "stupid" or not. I believe the scenario was: A and B hit into the same area in a stroke play competition. B hits A's ball mistakenly. A cannot find his ball and goes to re-tee. On the green (B with A's ball, A with the second ball he put into play), they see that B hit A's ball. This seems to me close enough to 15-3b/1 that I am wondering why A can't just go back to the spot they identify as the spot from which B played A's ball and A can play his second shot from there. Heck, you're more than virtually certain in this case: you're absolutely certain the B played A's ball. If B hit A's ball into a water hazard or OB somewhere, you're not absolutely certain, you're just "virtually certain." Yes, A could say "dude, did you hit my ball" and go forward to look, but that alone might take the bulk of his five minutes, and he might not choose to look 240 yards away for his ball because, seriously, what kind of a jerk hits someone else's ball when they're already looking for it in the same area? In other words… what is the rules justification for penalizing A for a lost ball in this scenario? I understand it meets the definition of a lost ball… but to me, so would the ball in 15-3b/1. So what's the justification? P.S. What if a spectator (outside agency) mistakenly picks up your ball, is embarrassed to tell you that, but musters up the courage after you've put another ball into play and are walking back through the area? What's the rules justification for that? I kind of get it, because the second ball is "in play," but again you're more than virtually certain of not only the temporary theft of your original ball, but it's location, too. The fact that your second ball is "in play" strikes me more as a convenience thing or a technicality than something that reaches down to the core fundamentals or principles that guide the Rules of Golf.
So today at a USKG event (18 holes, 5000 yards, 12-14 girls) a gal I won't name was playing in "our" threesome (my daughter and I). On the tee this girl, I'll call her Jane, hits one way right through some trees toward another fairway, but it didn't seem to hit anything solid. I said, because Jane was already slow, that she might want to hit a provisional. She did, and hit it down the middle with a little draw. Natalie had popped her drive up so we went to play hers. She hit a 3W to the right side of the fairway near the green (we thought) and by then Jane and her dad had been looking for awhile. I said "I think it's back this way a bit" and they gave up shortly thereafter, not finding it. They went to find their provisional. Natalie and I looked for her ball. We were nearly at the four minute mark when Jane dropped to the left of the fairway near a cart path and a small cliff that, by the tee, was a lateral but up here was unmarked with any stakes or lines at all. I assumed she found her ball and was taking a drop from the cart path. She hit her ball over the back of the green and I saw another ball there. I went and found that it was Natalie's (whew! Somehow it went an extra 50 yards?). At this point things got weird. While walking around the left back side of the green, Jane says "here's my ball!" (her provisional). The dad asked the mom of the third competitor "what do we do now?" She said something like "I don't know, ask him" (me). The dad said "just pick it up and we'll play that one." She chipped on and two-putted. Long story short, the guy asked what he should write down for the hole. Because it's USKG, the highest score they can take on any hole is a 10, and I was tempted to say "10" and leave it at that. I mean, the girl violated several rules, but… how would you score it? I said "okay, she hit the ball six times. Twice off the tee, once to the back of the green, one on the green, and two putts. She got a stroke and distance penalty for the provisional that ended up being the ball you used, and why did you drop over there? Was it a lateral hazard?" He said "no, we dropped because we lost her ball." Ugh. In the end, the guy wrote down an 8 for his daughter (my daughter had his card). Now, there's no real way that she got only an 8, but the girl finished in last place anyway, so whatever. And yet… despite being assessed only two penalty strokes for this, the dad acted like a huge jerk the rest of the round to Natalie. She hit a shot from 75 yards to six feet over water, and nothing. Oh, he was plenty chipper with the third girl, giving her plenty of "good shot"s and "nice putt"s, but didn't say a word to Natalie the rest of the round. Never mind the fact that the guy would stand on the line of his daughter's play every now and then, the guy and his daughter would pick up or roll their ball slightly to "identify" it and put it back close to but never quite where it was… and a few other things here and there. :sigh: And yet, I'm certain in that dad's eyes, I'm the jerk. He said something like "I think she had enough penalty strokes on that hole." And "Next time I don't care how long they have to wait we're going to find your ball." After that comment I told him about the five minute rule. Nobody was rushing him - we were 60 yards away trying to find Natalie's ball. We were about 1/2 or 3/4 of a hole behind, but any pressure to rush things came from him. I also told him that you can't drop for a lost ball - it's always stroke and distance. But no matter. He wasn't hearing any of it. Did I handle things as well as I could? Probably not. My obligation is to Natalie, not to make sure he's not violating rules left and right. Goodness knows what he should have actually scored for the hole, but 8 is a gift, really. And clearly the guy doesn't know the Rules very well at all… so, what, I could have pulled out the Rules book and shown him things? I felt that would just tick him off more. Jane stood with her shadow over the hole and we had to ask her to move twice. Once she was standing 15 feet away from the hole on Natalie's line from 30 feet. They were slow. On the 18th hole, Jane dunked her third in the water hazard (yellow) and he asked me what to do: I told him that last year there was a drop zone and that he should go see if it was still there, and when he came back, he was pissed - again - that she had to play from behind the hazard. When she dropped she just rolled the ball out of her hand at her waist level and played it from there, about two or three yards right of the line I'd indicated (she chose the "drop on the line from the hole through where it last crossed the margin"). The moral of this lousy tale? If you're gonna enter your kid into a golf tournament, know the basic rules. If you screw up, don't be a jerk and treat the other kid badly. Identify your ball without picking it up or rolling it around. Learn what you do when you hit it in a hazard or lose your ball. Know the basic stuff. And be a fucking adult, man.