RIO DE JANEIRO – Winds were expected to gust again on Saturday at Olympic Golf Course, which prompted officials to post a reminder of Rule 18-2, an explanation of what happens when a golf ball moves during play.
The topic became a lightning rod two months ago when Dustin Johnson was penalized a stroke during the final round of the U.S. Open after his golf ball moved on the fifth green. Johnson never waivered in his belief that he didn’t cause the ball to move, but was penalized by USGA officials nonetheless.
Prior to Saturday’s final round, a bulletin was posted at Olympic Golf Course explaining Rule 18-2.
“There is no automatic penalty if the ball moves after being addressed,” the rule reads. And adds, “the only matter that is assessed is whether the player caused the ball to move.”
On Friday during the third round of the women’s competition, Marianne Skarpnord’s golf ball moved on the 10th green as winds gusted to 35 mph. After a lengthy conversation with a rules official, the Norwegian was not penalized and she was allowed to play from the golf ball’s new position.
“I wanted him to decide. It’s his decision if I get a penalty or not. I think it’s the most stupid rule in golf that you can potentially be penalized for a ball that is moving on the green when it’s not your fault,” Skarpnord told GolfChannel.com.