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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.