Rules to Play By 4 Things to Know

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 27, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editor's note: Each week, Ray Herzog, a rules expert from the San Diego Golf Academy in Orlando, Fla., will be answering reader-submitted questions involving the Rules of Golf. Look for Ray's Q&A every Thursday on
If, during play, lead tape from, in this case a driver/or putter, becomes dislodged or accidentally removed, (I AM aware that you cannot replace with fresh tape), BUT if you leave the club as is (less the original tape) can the club be legally continued to be played with for the balance of the round? OR must you declare the club non-conforming from that point to rounds end and not use at all, avoiding penalty or DQ? -- Jeff Kirkland, Mt. Pleasant, SC
The answer to your question about lead tape being removed from the golf club during play can be found in Rule No. 4 (Clubs). 4-2 deals with Playing Characteristics Changed and Foreign Material. The first question a rules official would ask you is: How was the tape removed from the club? The answer they would want to hear is: In normal course of play.
If the tape falls off during a practice swing or a stroke at your golf ball, you are allowed to do one of two things. You can use the club in its damaged state for the remainder of the round or restore the club to its previous condition. When restoring the club, you can try to re-apply the tape that fell off or apply new tape. If you are using new tape, every effort should be made to restore the club, as nearly as possible, to its previous condition.
If the tape is removed other than in normal course of play, the club may not be used for the remainder of the round. The penalty for using the club again during the round would be disqualification.
Everyone thinks you cannot apply new tape to the club during the round. If you need to see it in writing, the answer can be found in The Decisions on The Rules of Golf, 4-2/0.5.
-- Ray
I had a long putt and had one of the foursome attend the stick. As the ball approached the hole he pulled the flagstick. The stick stuck to the cup and he ended up raising the cup itself above the putting surface. My ball hit the cup and remained within a tap-in away. It would have obviously (gone) in. We werent sure what the call was. I just played the shot from where it ended up and considered it a two putt. Whats the call? -- Art Williams
It is amazing how many people have asked me the exact same question you have. The rule book defines the hole-liner as an outside agency. So in this case, a ball in motion was deflected or stopped by an outside agency. If you look in your rule book under 19-1, it will tell you to play the ball as it lies when this happens. Congratulations, Art; you made the correct ruling.
You might have been upset with the person attending the flagstick that day because he cost you a stroke, but in reality he might have saved you one. If the flagstick was stuck in the hole and the hole-liner did not come out of the hole, your putt would have struck the flagstick. The penalty for striking an attended flagstick is two strokes. So in the long run, it all depends on if you are a glass half full or glass half empty guy; either way you made the correct call.
-- Ray
Hi Ray,
A member of my club changes balls between holes. He'll play a performance ball (Pro V1) on par 3s and then switch to a distance ball (Noodle) on par 5s and long par 4s. He says you can change a ball during a hole if it's damaged (scuffed) and anytime between holes. (i.e. after finishing one and before starting the next). Is this true? Seems unfair (yes, he usually takes my $$$). -- Mark, Honolulu, Hawaii

There are two separate questions that I would like to answer for you:
1. Can you change types of golf balls between holes?
The answer is yes. He is allowed to change types of golf balls. The only time you cannot do this is when the One Ball Condition is in effect. The One Ball condition can be found in the back of the rule book in Appendix 1. PGA TOUR events use the one ball rule; most country clubs do no apply this condition. He is not breaking any rules yet.
2. Can you change a ball during a hole if its damaged?
The term you used in your question was scuffed. If your friends golf ball is scuffed because he keeps bouncing it off of the cart path, it is not considered damaged. Rule 5-3 deals with a ball unfit for play. It states:
A ball is unfit for play if it is visibly cut, cracked, or out of shape. A ball is not unfit for play if its surface is scratched or scraped
Since your friends ball was just scuffed, he cannot take it out of play during play of the hole; he has to wait until he holes out. Mark, I did noticed you live in Honolulu, so if you need me to come out and explain this rule to your buddy in person, I am an email away.
-- Ray
This ruling has bothered me for a long time. Quite a few years back (Craig Stadler) was disqualified for putting a handkerchief down when he had to hit out from under a tree. He did not want to get his pants dirty. They said that he was building a stance. My question is when a player takes off his shoes and socks isnt he also building a stance? -- Rich Patrick
Rule 13-3 deals with Building a Stance. I think everyone who saw Craig Stadler get a two-stroke penalty for kneeling on the towel agrees with you. That ruling seemed to be unfair. Would it be fair for me to back my golf cart under a tree limb, stand on the bumper, and try to hit my ball that was stuck in a branch, probably not. The rule book defines a towel as equipment just like my golf cart. So when Craig knelt on the towel, it was like me standing on the bumper. We both were building a stance.
The last part of your question referred to taking off your shoes and socks as building a stance. That is a question I have never heard before. I discussed it with some of my students in our advanced rules class this week and we decided that taking off your shoes and socks would actually be un-building a stance. There is nothing in the rule book that prohibits you from un-building a stance.
Thank you for your questions,
Ray Herzog
Email your Rules of Golf questions to Ray
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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.