Rules to Play By Max Number of Stokes - COPIED

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 5, 2007, 5:00 pm
Editor's note: Ray Herzog, a rules expert from the San Diego Golf Academy in Orlando, Fla., will be presiding over cases presented by you the reader. Please submit your on-course dispute and let Rules Judge Ray settle it.
Case presented by Ira P.:
After my ball was on the green, I hit a downhill putt that ran off the front of the green. My opponent said because my ball was originally on the green, I was not allowed to replace the flagstick for my next shot which was from off the green. I was not aware that the rules made this distinction for balls being played from off the green. Is this correct? Please advise.
I have to agree with you on this one, I am also unaware of any rule that makes a distinction for shots played from off the green. The only breach for a flagstick being in the hole would be under rule 17-3c. It states, the players ball must not strike the flagstick in the hole, unattended, when the stroke has been made on the putting green. The key words being, 'on the putting green.' As soon as your ball went off the green, there is nothing in the rules that says you cannot put the flagstick back in the hole.
If you really want to mess with your opponents head, tell him that before you make a stroke from anywhere on the course, you may have the flagstick attended for you. That will really throw him for a loop.
-- Ray
Bonus question from William Port
Is there a maximum number of penalty strokes that can be assessed on a shot or a hole? ... Although this exact example has not happened all in one shot/hole, all these things have happened at one time or another. What if they did happen all on one hole?
For example, on the first tee you hit your tee shot into the tree line. You think you see your ball under a bush. You can get to a position to hit the ball if you get on your knees. However, it has been raining and the ground is wet so you put down a towel to kneel on. Right there, you have improved your stance and there is a penalty. You press on. You take a mighty swing at the ball and shank it farther into the tree line and past the white out of bounds stake. Now we have an out of bounds shot and another penalty. You go to pick up your ball to go back to the bush and as you look at your ball you see that it is not, indeed, your ball. Oops, another penalty for hitting a wrong ball. On the way back to the bush you notice another ball under another near by bush and are able to identify it as your ball. Rather than try another tricky under the bush shot, you decide to declare it unplayable and take a drop. Another penalty stroke for that decision. You then take your drop but you take it from the wrong place. Yet another penalty. As you are now ready to hit your shot from the wrong spot you decide you need a different club. As you select your club, you notice that you have 15 clubs in the bag. Yet another penalty. This could go on and on with non-conforming balls and clubs and hitting out of turn and displacing branches or leaves on the practice swing. The question is, do you take all these penalty strokes or is there a point in time where the rules say enough is enough and assess say 4 penalty strokes and we move on?

I have played in a few rounds where I have wished there was a maximum number of penalty strokes, but there isnt. There is no maximum to the penalty strokes. You have to play a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the rules. So once you tee off, you have to apply all penalties until you hole your golf ball out.
But just for fun lets take your example and apply the penalties for you. Assuming this is the first hole and you are playing stroke play lets see what your score would be when you realized you had 15 clubs.
Your tee shot was the only stroke you made at the ball. When you knelt on the towel and built a stance it was a 2-stroke penalty. You hit a wrong ball out of bounds. This is a 2-stroke penalty but the stroke does not count and it is not an out of bounds penalty because it was the wrong ball. When you take a drop for the unplayable that is a 1-stroke penalty. You go back to the bag and get another club and realize you have too many clubs. Since you are on the first hole, it is only a 2-stroke penalty. The fact that you dropped the ball in the wrong place, it would only be a penalty if you played from the wrong spot. Since you have not played the ball yet, we will hold off on that penalty. Rule 20-6 lets you re-drop that golf ball in the correct spot if you realize you error. So at this point in your story you have made one stroke at the ball and are lying 8 with another two-stroke penalty about to be applied.
William, I will give you my secret to keeping your scores down. As a PGA Professional, I have the opportunity to play a lot of golf with my students and members. The best way to reduce monster numbers on the golf course because of penalty strokes is to play match play. In your example, as soon as you kneeled on that towel, you lost the first hole. You are 1 down going to the second hole rather than taking a double-digit number. Good Luck in your future matches.
-- Ray
Email your on-course rules dispute to Rules Judge 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.