Flagstick Laying on Green?

Last week we posed the question of what happens if you come across a green with the flagstick removed from the hole and laying on the green.  I promised a cheap dozen golf balls to the first correct response to this blog.  No takers yet.

Questions to be answered -- are you entitled to leave the flagstick laying on the green while you putt?
If another player wants to replace the flagstick in the hole and then putt, are you entitled to replace the flagstick on the green and then putt when it is your turn?  After all, one of the basic tenets of the game is to play the course as you find it, and you found the course with the flagstick laying on the green.

Send me the correct decision and the cite, and the cheap dozen golf balls are yours.

Movable Obstruction?

This one is courtesy of Peter Rigsbee on the Island of Hawaii.

The wind was blowing really hard.  How hard your ask?  Hard enough to blow the flagstick out of the hole.  The question becomes  --  is the player penalized if:

     His/Her shot from the fairway hits the flagstick laying on the green?

     His/Her chip shot hits the flagstick laying on the green?

     Her/His putt hits the flagstick laying on the green?

My immediate response to Peter turned out to be wrong, as I found out after querying the USGA Rules Department.

A dozen (cheap) golf balls to the first person responding with the correct answer and the cited rule/interpretation.

I got a lot of Penalty Strokes, too

On the European tour the day after Lee Ann Walker's issue, a player was playing under the "Lift, Clean and Place" rules.  Unfortunately for him, the rest of the players were not.  After five times of lifting his ball in play, cleaning it and placing it (in a different spot than he lifted from) he got a total of 10 penalty strokes.

You Got HOW MANY Penalty Strokes?

Aloha, after a brief absence, I'm back.

A couple of weeks ago a young lady (Lee Ann Walker) playing in the LPGA Senior Championship ran afoul of the new rules.  On the second day of the event, her fellow players noticed she had her caddy lining her up on her putts -- on the fifth hole they played that day.  Lee Ann immediately called for a referee to see what she should do.

She admitted to having her caddy line up her putts on the first day, also.  After counting up the number of times that happened on day 1, she accepted her 42(!) FORTY TWO penalty strokes, turning her 84 into 126.  Then she had another 14 strokes added to her second round, which turned her 74 into 88.  Instead of missing the cut by one shot, she missed by only 57 shots.

Lee Ann was on the LPGA tour in 2008, but now is in real estate and her intention in playing in the LPGA Seniors was to meet and greet some of her old friends.  Turned out well on that front, and she gracefully accepted her punishment for not kno…

I'll Bet This has Happened to You at some Time

As a Referee I came across three players looking for a ball in a Red Penalty Area.  They explained the shot had hit a tree within the penalty area and had bounced, but they didn't know if it was off a rock in the penalty area or something else.  They were convinced (Virtually Certain), however, that the ball was in the penalty area.  After a significant search without finding the ball, the player asked what options she had.

I explained the three options (Rule 17) and she opted to take relief back on the line from the point of entry.  Off a steep downhill, side hill lie, she hit a nice draw around the tree in the penalty area and back into the fairway.  When she went forward to hit her fourth shot, she said, "Here is my first ball on the cart path.  Where do I take relief?"

Sorry.  Rule 14.4 says that once the original ball has been abandoned, it may no longer be played on that hole, it is a Wrong Ball.  She had to lift it and continue on with her substituted ball.

Rory Playing in the Sand

For both of you who might have missed it, on August 8, Rory McIlroy tried to move a loose impediment in a fairway bunker.  When he started to touch it, he realized it might not be a stone as he thought, but could be a clump of sand instead.  He admitted to touching the clump, but it didn't move and he did nothing to improve his lie in the bunker.  The referee he called over called for clarification and after some discussion the committee decided that Rory had earned the General Penalty -- two strokes.

Rule 12.2a permits removing loose impediments an movable obstructions in a bunker.  It further explains that "...any reasonable touching or movement of the sand in the bunker while doing so" is permitted.

Rule 12.2a(1) describes when touching sand will result in a penalty. 
     Before making a stroke at a ball in a bunker, a player must not:
         Deliberately touch sand in the bunker with a hand, club, rake or other object to test the condition of the sand to learn inf…

Bucket List Time

This has nothing to do with the Rules, but since it is my Blog, my rules.

A couple of weeks ago (June 27), I had an opportunity to put one more item into my personal bucket of things to do before I can't do them anymore.  I had a $500 gift card for Pebble Beach and since I was visiting my sister in California, I took the opportunity to play the Links.  I call about a week ahead of time to see about availability and got a time of 1:40 pm on the 27th, joining a twosome and another single.  Since I was not staying at the Lodge, it only cost me another $95 to play.

The rough was still about 3-3 1/2 inches (after the US Open less than two weeks earlier) and the greens were relatively slow, stimping at 9 according to both the proshop and my feel for them.  I played to course from the white tees (6200 yds, roughly, 72.0/135) and managed a 94 with my 10 course handicap.

For you stats geeks, I hit nine fairways, two greens (three putted one and birdied the other) and couldn't advance t…