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Zrullac

Play a substitute ball in Match Play

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I ran afoul of a bad ruling on an issue during our club championship today.  Here are the particulars.

We were on the 18th hole.  The match was all square.  My opponent hit his tee shot into the penalty area water, and the ball was deemed lost.  He then took relief from the penalty area with penalty stroke at the point the ball crossed the penalty area.  He then hit his second ball into the penalty area water again.  We both saw it splash into the water, and he stated that he thought the ball was in the water.   He then took another drop and hit his third ball over the penalty area just short of the green.  He is now laying 5.  When we approached the green, a bystander informed him that his 2nd ball, actually skipped out of the water over the penalty area and came to rest in play beyond the penalty area.  He went to that ball and identified it as his and was about to play the ball when I told him that his 2nd ball was now, not in play because he placed and hit another substitute ball in play.  He disagreed, and I requested a ruling from the course pro.  In the mean time, my opponent decided to play both balls in hopes of getting a favorable ruling on his second ball.  Bottom line, I would have won based on his score using the 3rd ball, but the pro ruled that since the 2nd ball was found, even after he played a third ball, his 2nd ball score counted, which resulted in us halving the hole.  I protested, but we continued to play sudden death playoff, which he won on the 22nd whole.  Rule 17-1c should have been used to determine my opponents correct ball.  Thought.....

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17 hours ago, Zrullac said:

I ran afoul of a bad ruling on an issue during our club championship today.  Here are the particulars.

We were on the 18th hole.  The match was all square.  My opponent hit his tee shot into the penalty area water, and the ball was deemed lost.  He then took relief from the penalty area with penalty stroke at the point the ball crossed the penalty area.  He then hit his second ball into the penalty area water again.  We both saw it splash into the water, and he stated that he thought the ball was in the water.   He then took another drop and hit his third ball over the penalty area just short of the green.  He is now laying 5.  When we approached the green, a bystander informed him that his 2nd ball, actually skipped out of the water over the penalty area and came to rest in play beyond the penalty area.  He went to that ball and identified it as his and was about to play the ball when I told him that his 2nd ball was now, not in play because he placed and hit another substitute ball in play.  He disagreed, and I requested a ruling from the course pro.  In the mean time, my opponent decided to play both balls in hopes of getting a favorable ruling on his second ball.  Bottom line, I would have won based on his score using the 3rd ball, but the pro ruled that since the 2nd ball was found, even after he played a third ball, his 2nd ball score counted, which resulted in us halving the hole.  I protested, but we continued to play sudden death playoff, which he won on the 22nd whole.  Rule 17-1c should have been used to determine my opponents correct ball.  Thought.....

You are 100% right, Rule 17.1c specifically says that once a ball has been put into play to take relief from a Penalty Area, the original ball is no longer in play and must not be played,  even if the original ball is found outside of the penalty area within the 3-minute search period.

On a separate issue, a player isn't allowed to play two balls in a match play situation (20.1b(4)).  He is required to choose his action, and the opponent (you) has the choice to request a ruling on the matter in a timely manner, usually before either of you tees off on the next hole. (20.1b(2)).  In this case, he'd have played a "wrong ball" when he played his 2nd ball instead of continuing with his 3rd, and would be assessed the General Penalty (loss of hole).

For better or worse, golf professionals aren't always rules experts.  This is a very good reason to download the USGA Rules app to your phone, so that you have access to the rules when these kinds of things arise.  

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Sounds to me like you need to visit the Pro and review the rules with him. Also sounds to me like the win by your opponent should be overruled. 

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9 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

You are 100% right, Rule 17.1c specifically says that once a ball has been put into play to take relief from a Penalty Area, the original ball is no longer in play and must not be played,  even if the original ball is found outside of the penalty area within the 3-minute search period.

On a separate issue, a player isn't allowed to play two balls in a match play situation (20.1b(4)).  He is required to choose his action, and the opponent (you) has the choice to request a ruling on the matter in a timely manner, usually before either of you tees off on the next hole. (20.1b(2)).  In this case, he'd have played a "wrong ball" when he played his 2nd ball instead of continuing with his 3rd, and would be assessed the General Penalty (loss of hole).

For better or worse, golf professionals aren't always rules experts.  This is a very good reason to download the USGA Rules app to your phone, so that you have access to the rules when these kinds of things arise.  

Thanks for the reply.  You know, I actually showed him the rules book and the rule.  He wouldn't change his ruling.  I think it might have been a pride issue on his part.  Anyway, the tournament is over.  Next year we will hash this out ahead of the tourney.

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12 hours ago, Zrullac said:

Thanks for the reply.  You know, I actually showed him the rules book and the rule.  He wouldn't change his ruling.  I think it might have been a pride issue on his part.  Anyway, the tournament is over.  Next year we will hash this out ahead of the tourney.

In looking at the rules, I don't see a real mechanism for changing the Ruling by either a referee or the Committee once you started play on your extra holes.  

"Where a referee makes an incorrect ruling on the final hole of a match, it should be corrected at any time up until the result of the match is final, or if the match goes to extra holes, until either player makes a stroke from the next teeing area."

In the setting of a private club, I wouldn't publicize this too broadly, its not a good thing to make the pro look bad, but I probably would have a private conversation with him.  Similarly, I might have the same discussion with the other guy, to let him understand exactly what the Rules say.  You seem to have a good attitude about this, taking it in stride, but you might be able to help other folks learn something.

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