Rules to Play By Bending the Rules

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 4, 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
Player A and Player B are playing match play. On the 12th hole, Player A putts to about 3 feet away and as he is walking to the ball he hears from behind him its good and he picks up the ball and walks away. Player B reacts by saying I didnt say that, my caddie said it and he meant it was a good putt.
What is the rule? Was the putt conceded by Player B even though it was his caddy that said it? Does Player A have to replace the ball as near as possible for a next putt? Once a putt is considered conceded doesnt it stay conceded? Is Players Bs caddie part of his team and can a players caddie concede putts? Need answers!
Thank you
Richard Blash

By my count, you have five questions packed into that second paragraph. I will attempt to answer all of them. The rule that will answer all of your questions is rule 2-4, Concession of Next Stroke, Hole or Match. The player not his caddie, has to concede the putt. Since the comments made by Bs caddie could have led A to think his next stroke had been conceded, in equity A should replace his ball as near as possible to where it lay, without penalty. A concession may not be declined or withdrawn, but in this case there never was a concession.
If I remember right, almost the exact same thing happened in the last Ryder Cup to Davis Love. He made the comment, good putt. His opponent thought he said, thats good, and picked up his ball. Since it was mistaken concession, they just replaced the ball back to its original position.

I was told that on Tour, there are some rules that are a little 'bended' due to an unwritten player respect on Tour. Here is the scenario...
The player hits his ball at what he thinks is out of bounds but himself and his playing partners are unsure. Therefore, he hits a provisional. The provisional is a great shot next to the pin. So, he tells his playing partners to not look for the first ball (although it could still be in bounds, but more than likely unplayable). Out of respect, they dont look for the ball and the player taps in his putt.
The question is, does he have to look for the first ball?

I think the TOUR players dont bend the rules, I think they use them to their advantage. The players on TOUR have so much experience they know more about the rules. Things your weekend golfer would consider bending the rules.
The answer to your question is; the player does not have to look for his first ball. The rule book states; Once he plays a shot with his provisional ball from the place where the original ball is likely to be or from a point nearer the hole than that place, the original ball is deemed lost. So as soon as he putts the ball on the putting green, his first ball is considered lost.
The interesting thing about your question, if your fellow competitor wants to go look for your ball they are permitted. They would be allowed five minutes to search for the first ball. If they find it, you must go over and identify the ball. But if you went up to the green and played your provisional ball before they found it, your first ball is lost. So basically, the race is on, can you putt your provisional ball before they can find your lost ball. Good Luck, I hope you win the race.

Hi Ray,
My friend recently played in a tournament with a guy who had 2 old clubs taped together that he used to warm up with. Problem is, he carried them in his bag in addition to the fourteen clubs he played with.
Isn't he in violation of the 14 club rule ??
Thanks, Kevin

Once again, another question I have never heard before. You are correct; he would be in violation of the 14-club rule. There are some common misconceptions about the 14-club rule. I found two decisions in the Decisions on The Rules of Golf that could clear them up.
4-4a/7 ' Deals with carrying a weighted training club. It is a violation to carry a weighted training club, but the club may be selected as one of the 14 clubs selected by the player. In your example, the player would have to take out two clubs to compensate for his double club warm up device.
4-4c/1 ' Deals with declaring a club out of play before the start of a round. If a player has 15 clubs in his bag before the round, he must get rid of the club before the round begins. Declaring a club out of play only applies after a breach has occurred. So the next time a player wants to flip the club over in his bag or put the extra club on the floor of the cart, inform them that they are still subject to penalty. They must not start the round with 15 clubs.

Dear Ray,
I hit my approach shots very, very high. When greens are soft, I often find my ball embedded up to its equator in its own pitchmark on the green. After I mark and lift the ball, I do my best to repair the pitchmark. However, such pitchmarks are nearly impossible to repair to a condition of smooth and even with the surrounding surface. There is usually still a bit of a hole or depression after the repairwork is finished. Must I place my ball back down on this depression/hole before playing my next stroke, or am I
entitled to relief?

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do in this situation. The ball must be placed on the spot from which it was lifted. You just have to spend a little more time repairing the ball mark. One situation where you can move the ball is addressed in rule 20-3d, Ball Fails to Come to Rest on Spot. If you replace your ball and it fails to come to rest, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced. If it still fails to come to rest on the spot, it must be placed at the nearest spot where it can be placed at rest that is not nearer the hole. On the putting green, if the ball wont come to rest on the spot, move it over an inch and place it there. Sorry, that is all I could find to help you out. I guess you just have to buy a real nice repair tool.
Thank you for your questions,
Ray Herzog
Email your Rules of Golf questions to Ray
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Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

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McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.

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Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.