Rule of the Week
April 11, 2016

If you were watching the Masters tournament on Saturday, April 9th, you may have witnessed a rare rules occurrence.  While playing the 15th green, Billy Horschel's ball landed safely on the putting green.  He marked his ball, lifted it, cleaned it, and replaced it.  His ball was in play.  A gust of wind came up and his ball started to roll.  It caught the false front and it rolled into the hazard.   

What could have been a reasonable birdie putt was now a ball in a water hazard.  Mr. Horschel had three options:
  1. he could play the ball as it lies, (not possible without scuba gear) 
  2. he could play from behind the hazard either at the spot the ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard, or
  3. at the spot where he last previously played from, behind the hazard when it landed safely on the putting green and was at rest.   
Option 2 and 3 above, were adding a penalty of 1 stroke under Rule 26-1 for Relief for a ball in a water hazard.  Ultimately, Mr. Horschel was able to compose himself and he chipped on to the putting green within a few feet and tapped in a great recovery shot for his bogey 6.
A number of viewers were quick to point out that his ball marker was still on the green and therefore he should be able to put his ball back on that spot.  Unfortunately, his ball was in play as soon as he returned it at the spot it was lifted.  Therefore, the option to replace the ball at the previous spot was an option however it was not on the putting green.  The relief would be on the fairway side of the water hazard. 

The related Decisions and Definition are outlined below:

20-4/1 Ball Replaced on Putting Green But Ball-Marker Not Removed; 
           Ball Then Moves

Q. A player replaces his ball on the putting green but does not remove his ball-marker. Subsequently the wind moves his ball to a new position. What is the ruling?
A. Under Rule
20-4 , a ball is in play when it is replaced, whether or not the object used to mark its position has been removed. Consequently the ball must be played from the new position - see Decision 18-1/12

18-1/12 Ball Replaced and at Rest Is Thereafter Moved by Wind

Q. A player replaces his ball on the putting green and the ball is at rest. Before the player addresses the ball, a sudden gust of wind blows the ball farther from the hole. The player plays the ball from its new position. Is that correct?
A. Yes. Wind is not an outside agency - see Definition of "Outside Agency." Accordingly, Rule
18-1 does not apply.

Outside Agency

In match play, an " outside agency " is any agency other than either the player's or opponent's  side , any caddie of either side , any ball played by either side at the hole being played or any equipment of either side .
In stroke play, an outside agency is any agency other than the competitor's  side , any caddie of the side , any ball played by the side at the hole being played or any equipment of the side .
An outside agency includes a referee , a marker , an observer and a forecaddie . Neither wind nor water is an outside agency .     
Good things happen to good people ~ Correct? 
Do Golf Gods Exist?  
On Sunday, Billy Horschel was rewarded with an eagle 3 on the Par 5 8th hole when he holed out from 80 yards out.  "Sometimes they giveth and taketh away!" the old statement holds true in reverse order.

Happy golfing and remember the Rules of Golf Matter.

About Golf Saskatchewan
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