Rules

Get it right on the course more of­ten with our monthly R&A mas­ter­class

Golf Monthly - - Contents -

We look at lat­eral wa­ter haz­ards, over­head ca­bles, mov­able ob­struc­tions and bound­ary walls

hona McRae, R&A as­sis­tant di­rec­tor Ð Rules, ex­plains where JB Holmes went wrong when tak­ing a drop from a lat­eral wa­ter hazard dur­ing the WGC-Cadil­lac Cham­pi­onshipÉ

Con­fus­ing your op­tions for re­lief from a lat­eral wa­ter hazard can be costly, as JB Holmes found out to his detri­ment at this year’s WGC-Cadil­lac Cham­pi­onship. On Do­ral’s open­ing hole, Holmes put his tee shot into a lat­eral wa­ter hazard. Seek­ing re­lief, the 33-year-old de­cided to drop the ball on the ‘op­po­site mar­gin’, giv­ing him a much eas­ier shot to the hole.

Un­der Rule 26-1, avail­able as ad­di­tional op­tions for re­lief only if the ball last crossed the mar­gin of a lat­eral wa­ter hazard (red stakes and/ or lines), you may also drop a ball:

(i) out­side the wa­ter hazard within two club-lengths of, and not nearer the hole than, the point where the ball last crossed the mar­gin of the lat­eral wa­ter hazard, or

(ii) within two club-lengths of a point on the op­po­site side of the lat­eral wa­ter hazard equidis­tant to the hole from the point where the ball last crossed the mar­gin.

Holmes es­tab­lished cor­rectly the point on the op­po­site mar­gin of the lat­eral wa­ter hazard, but then mis­tak­enly dropped the ball back on a line from that point, rather than within the spec­i­fied two club-lengths. The op­tion to drop a ball back on a line must be as­sessed from the orig­i­nal point of en­try, and not from the equidis­tant point on the op­po­site side of the lat­eral wa­ter hazard.

When Holmes reached the put­ting green, a ref­eree ad­vised him that he had played from a wrong place. If a player makes a stroke from a wrong place, he in­curs a penalty of two strokes and must play out the hole with the ball played from the wrong place. How­ever, Holmes was also told that his breach was con­sid­ered a ‘se­ri­ous breach’ of the Rules due to the ad­van­tage he had gained.

Con­se­quently, in line with Rule 20-7c, Holmes had to cor­rect the er­ror and com­plete the hole with a sec­ond ball played in ac­cor­dance with the Rules. He did this by re­turn­ing to the lat­eral wa­ter hazard where, this time, he cor­rectly dropped a ball within two club-lengths on the op­po­site side of the lat­eral wa­ter hazard equidis­tant from the point where it last crossed the mar­gin of the hazard.

The score with the sec­ond ball counted and Holmes was pe­nalised two strokes, post­ing a dou­ble-bo­gey 7. How­ever, it could have been worse: if he had teed off on the next hole with­out cor­rect­ing his er­ror, he would have been dis­qual­i­fied from the tour­na­ment.

JB Holmes at the WGC-Cadil­lac at Do­ral

Un­der penalty of one stroke, you may...

drop a ball back on a line from where the ball last crossed the mar­gin

play again from the spot of the last stroke, or

drop a ball within two clublengths from where ball last crossed mar­gin of the hazard or an equidis­tant point on the op­po­site mar­gin

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