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Declaring a search over after playing provisional


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I was at the 19th hole yesterday when one in our group relayed a story regarding a controversial ruling during a match play event at the club:

On a par 3 with a carry over a water hazard (with mud and reeds obscuring the far side), the player's tee shot appeared to be short and potentially in the hazard. The player declared a provisional shot and struck a ball from the drop zone, holing out for three.

The player then declared that they would take the provisional shot and not search for the original ball. The opposing team objected, walked to the edge of the hazard, and found the original ball. Here I am not sure if the original was in the hazard or safe. I'm assuming safe. What's the ruling? Is the player the arbiter of the search for their own ball? Once they declare the ball lost, is the provisional the ball in play?

The 19th hole committee was divided. Some sited an anecdote of Mickelson declaring a ball lost after hitting a provisional proved that no one can search if a player instructs them not to:

http://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/By-the-Rules-Ball-Was-Not-Lost-Odd-sequence-2952722.php. But when I read the story I am still confused. The marshal finds the ball and Mickelson winds up re-teeing.

 

I need MGS wisdom here...

 

PS, the onsite decision was that the original ball was in play.

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I am no rules expert.....but the big difference to me is if the ball was behind the hazard line or not.   A provisional is played, with the expectation that you may not be able to find your ball, if it was not in the hazard, I think he has to play it.   But maybe the real issue here is, who is responsible for looking for the ball and for how long?

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Exactly. Ball in the hazard, the player can re-tee or play from the drop zone (which he did with the provisional). That's why I assumed it was clear of the hazard line.

Can a player forbid people from finding a ball and or refuse to identify it?

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http://www.barryrhodes.com/2016/07/searching-for-ball.html

 

This may help a bit....sounds like he is in no way required to go look for that ball

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http://www.barryrhodes.com/2010/10/searching-for-golf-ball.html

 

Actually, this may help more than the first one

 

He give a specific example, that is almost exactly your situation, the BIG difference is, your friend holed out.   It says that if he plays another stroke on the provisional before the ball is found, the provisional is in play....but there is no more strokes to play on the provisional.....May be a good one to submit to this guy for an answer

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Good references and really good reading, but I think these rules raise a few more questions:

 

This was match play, so the opponents are able to search. In the examples given, the player had the option to play an additional stroke on the provisional before the opponent finds the original, rendering the found "lost ball" out of play. With the ball in the hole, is the original ball out of play or in play? If out of play, can the opponents recall the provisional shot?

With no additional stroke available, I would think that the original is in play, no?

Hypothetically, would the player be penalized for playing out of turn by executing a stroke on the provisional if it were closer to the hole than the opponent's ball?

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It's a complicated one for sure

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The player holed out his provisional ball thus completing the hole. I think had he not holed out and the original ball found, then the question can be raised.

 

 

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The player holed out his provisional ball thus completing the hole. I think had he not holed out and the original ball found, then the question can be raised.

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But isn't a provisional ball just that? Conditional on the outcome of the original ball in play? It doesn't seem within the spirit of fairness that someone could miss a shot into deep rough during a match, let's say, and if the provisional is tight to the flag or in, abandon the first.

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I really meant to raise the question about the point you just made, i.e., does a holed out provisional ball complete the hole? As the honorable Judge suggests, I will likely pose this to Barry Rhodes shortly.

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Was his original ball found outside of the margin of the hazard? If so, the player loses the hole for playing from the incorrect position (drop zone).

 

You are not allowed to play a provisional if you think that your ball is lost in a water hazard. Playing a shot from the drop zone indicates that the player thinks that his ball is in the hazard, and he proceeded under the penalty of hitting into a water hazard.  If his original ball is found to be in the hazard, the player earned a 3 on the hole.

 

27-2a/2 Provisional Ball Played Solely in Belief Original Ball Might Be in Water Hazard
Q. A player's tee shot might be in a water hazard, but clearly it is not lost outside a water hazard or out of bounds. The player announces that, since his ball might be in the hazard, he is going to play a provisional ball and he does so. Rule 27-2a seems to prohibit a provisional ball in the circumstances. What is the ruling?
A. The player did not play a provisional ball which, according to the Definition of "Provisional Ball," is a ball played under Rule 27-2 for a ball which may be lost outside a water hazard or may be out of bounds. The second ball from the tee was in play since it was not a provisional ball.

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The actual issue here is that you cannot play a Provisional Ball from a Dropping Zone. A provisional must be played from the spot where the original ball was last played. In this case, regardless of whether the player declared the second ball to be a Provisional Ball, the ball played from the Dropping Zone is the 3rd stroke.

 

Now the wrinkle here is that it's Match Play, so the OP's statement "...the onsite decision was that the original ball was in play" negates the fact that the 2nd ball was holed. Match Play and Stroke Play are different animals. Once there was agreement between the sides on how to proceed, regardless of whether they proceeded under the Rules correctly or not, AND as long as there was no agreement between the sides to intentionally waive a rule (Rule 1-3), the first ball was the one in play and had to be dealt with.

 

The only way out of that situation would be for there to be disagreement between the sides on how to proceed, and one or both of the sides would have to make a claim (Ruls 2-5) either before teeing off at the next teeing ground, or if the disagreement took place on the last hole of the match, before all players have left the green.

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Thanks for the responses MmmmmmBuddy & LobWedge. I should have noticed the incompatibility of a drop zone shot with a ball clear of the hazard line.

 

So, a provisional should have been played from the tee box. Had the player holed out a legitimate provisional shot, what would the opponents options have been? Could they have made the player play the first ball or does the hole out constitute the final stroke?

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Thanks for the responses MmmmmmBuddy & LobWedge. I should have noticed the incompatibility of a drop zone shot with a ball clear of the hazard line.

 

So, a provisional should have been played from the tee box. Had the player holed out a legitimate provisional shot, what would the opponents options have been? Could they have made the player play the first ball or does the hole out constitute the final stroke?

 

This should answer your question.

 

Decision 27-2b/2

When Provisional Ball Holed Becomes Ball in Play

 

Q. At a short hole, A's tee shot may be out of bounds or lost, so he plays a provisional ball, which he holes. A does not wish to look for his original ball. B, A's opponent or a fellow-competitor, goes to look for the original ball. When does the provisional ball become the ball in play?

 

A. In equity (Rule 1-4) the provisional ball becomes the ball in play as soon as A picks it out of the hole, provided his original ball has not already been found in bounds within five minutes of B starting to search for it.

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This should answer your question.

 

Decision 27-2b/2

When Provisional Ball Holed Becomes Ball in Play

 

 

Q. At a short hole, A's tee shot may be out of bounds or lost, so he plays a provisional ball, which he holes. A does not wish to look for his original ball. B, A's opponent or a fellow-competitor, goes to look for the original ball. When does the provisional ball become the ball in play?

 

 

 

A. In equity (Rule 1-4) the provisional ball becomes the ball in play as soon as A picks it out of the hole, provided his original ball has not already been found in bounds within five minutes of B starting to search for it.

 

Thank you!

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It depends on when the ball was removed from the hole.  If he removed it from the hole before the original was found, he can take the result of the provisional shot.  Walk fast.  Rule 27 2b/2


http://www.golfdigest.com/story/kaspriske-rules-lost-ball

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  • 11 months later...

I know this is a year late, but I just read through this and am confused.   Isn't this ruling is dependent on what constitutes a "found" golf ball.  Does the player1 have to identify it to make sure it is the ball he hit, or are his opponents able to identify the ball that player1 hits therefore making his provisional out of play? Because then if player1 holes it, then he can have a slow leisurely walk to the green without worrying about his playing partners "finding" it.  

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I know this is a year late, but I just read through this and am confused. Isn't this ruling is dependent on what constitutes a "found" golf ball. Does the player1 have to identify it to make sure it is the ball he hit, or are his opponents able to identify the ball that player1 hits therefore making his provisional out of play? Because then if player1 holes it, then he can have a slow leisurely walk to the green without worrying about his playing partners "finding" it.

The player must identify the ball if one is found within the 5 minute search window. This occurred on one of the episodes of the big break. Opponent found the players ball because of the unique way it was marked. The player had to identify and had to abandon the provisional.

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Although the details of the incident are a little vague, I believe the committee made the correct decision.  The original ball is in play.  

 

First of all, there is no provisional ball in the case of a ball potentially in a water hazard.  If the other side of the hazard is obscured, then it cannot be known or virtually certain that the ball was in the hazard.  If the players cannot reasonably agree that the ball is in the hazard, then to be virtually certain that it isn't, the players must go forward and look for it.  If it is not found within 5 minutes and the only reasonable option is that it is in the hazard, then the player can drop under Rule 26-1.

 

In this case the player played from the wrong position in the drop zone, and loses the hole.

 

 

26-1/3

 

Ball Played Under Water Hazard Rule; Original Ball Then Found Outside Hazard

Q.A player believed his original ball had come to rest in a water hazard. He searched for about a minute but did not find his ball. He therefore dropped another ball behind the hazard under Rule 26-1 and played it. He then found his original ball outside the hazard within five minutes of having begun to search for it. What is the ruling?

A.When the player dropped and played another ball behind the hazard, it became the ball in play and the original ball was lost.

If it was known or virtually certain that the original ball was in the water hazard, the player was entitled to invoke Rule 26-1. In the absence of knowledge or virtual certainty that the original ball was in the water hazard, the player was required to put another ball into play under Rule 27-1. In playing the ball dropped under Rule 26-1, the player played from a wrong place.

In match play, he incurred a penalty of loss of hole (Rule 20-7b).

 

26-1/1

 

Meaning of "Known or Virtually Certain"

When a ball has been struck towards a water hazard and cannot be found, a player may not assume that his ball is in the water hazard simply because there is a possibility that the ball may be in the water hazard. In order to proceed under Rule 26-1, it must be "known or virtually certain" that the ball is in the water hazard.

 

26-1/1.3   When is it Necessary to Go Forward to Establish "Virtual Certainty"?

 

Q.Rule 26-1 requires there to be "knowledge or virtual certainty" before proceeding under the provisions of the Rule. In the absence of "knowledge" that a ball is in a water hazard, is it possible to establish the existence of "virtual certainty" without going forward to assess the physical conditions around the water hazard?

A.In the majority of cases, in order for it to be reasonably concluded that the ball does not lie anywhere outside the water hazard, it is necessary to go forward to assess the physical conditions around the hazard. However, there are situations where there will be sufficient evidence that the ball is in the hazard to establish "virtual certainty" without anyone having to go forward to review the physical conditions around the hazard. When a player's ball cannot be found, "knowledge" may be gained that his ball is in a water hazard in a number of ways. The player or his caddie or other members of his match or group may actually observe the ball disappear into the water hazard. Evidence provided by other reliable witnesses may also establish that the ball is in the water hazard. Such evidence could come from a referee, an observer, spectators or other outside agencies. It is important that all readily accessible information be considered because, for example, the mere fact that a ball has splashed in a water hazard would not always provide "knowledge" that the ball is in the water hazard, as there are instances when a ball may skip out of, and come to rest outside, the hazard.

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Virtual certainty is one of those terms in the golf rulebook that makes me angry. It's so ambiguous but also strangely specific.

 

Thanks for the schooling Kenny. I can appreciate the time you took to put that together.

 

 

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