Play It Where It Lies

Pebble Beach had two incidents where a player was penalized for causing a ball at rest that moved. Maverick McNealy and Russell Knox

  • Let’s take a quick look at the rule itself. Rule 9 – Ball Played as It Lies; Ball at Rest Lifted or Moved 9.2 a. Deciding whether the ball moved – both players knew the ball moved, then the question became was what caused the movement. 9.2 b. In the interaction with the Rules Officials and no video replay the players were deemed not guilty per se of causing the ball to move. Only with consultation to the video truck was a determination/confirmation made that the players actions caused the ball to move.

A larger discussion could be had, that this is not equitable due to the fact that the entire field is not subject to this type of video oversight, only the top few groups have a camera man assigned to them.

Very few of us will have that experience of having the camera on our every shot, so you need to be prepared to enlist what your caddie, fellow competitor, volunteers etc saw if a question arises. As to what happened at Pebble, the players immediately stopped, spoke with their fellow competitor and initiated a process to determine who/what caused the ball to move. Once you initiate that process and get your fellow competitor involved, you protect yourself from many bad outcomes and or inuendo of wrongdoing aka Patrick Reed. (without the immediate video review, and the player had only followed the guidance of The Rules Official and his fellow competitor, he only would have been penalized one shot and not the general penalty of 2 for not replacing his ball)

The main cause of frenzy with Patrick was putting his ball in his hand without having his fellow competitor or Rules Official there for oversight. That allowed doubters to jump in and speculate to what his intentions were and what actions did he take that not been seen. The one thing a Rules Official dreads is coming upon a player with his ball in his hand, now all the facts are not known and the player has failed to protect himself.

Learning and knowing the Rules of Golf are great, but we can’t know them all or rely on remembering them in the heat of the battle. But if we stop and bring in others as you determine what happened and/or what to do, in the long run you protect not only your reputation but more than likely save from receiving a more severe penalty being imposed.

Definitions of the week: (homework for you to research)

Moved, Known or virtually certain, , Outside Influence, Natural Forces

Heath Wassem, PGA

AKA: “Rulesguy”

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