Rules to Play By Rules Judge Ray

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Editor's note: In a new twist, 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 Ed from San Angelo, Texas:
 
Here is the situation: we are playing two-man, low-ball match play. My partner is 30 feet from the hole putting for birdie; I am on the same line 20 feet putting for bogey. Our competitor swats my ball away so I won't show the line to my partner. I tell him I want to putt the ball. He says I can't since the putt was conceded.
 
What's the rule?

 
Ed,
 
Hopefully I can help you with your situation. First of all, your opponent was right. In this situation, once he conceded your putt, you were not allowed to putt your golf ball. As a player who believes he is right, you want me to prove it to you. You are going to want to see it in writing. I am going to walk you through the process of finding the correct answers. Let me show you where I found the answer to your question.
 
In your question you said you were playing two-man low ball match play. The correct terminology would be Four-Ball. Four-Ball is a match in which two play their better ball against the better ball of two other players. You wont be able to find any rulings on two-man low ball, but you will be able to find a lot of information about Four-Ball in Rule #30. Rule #30 deals with Three-Ball, Best Ball, and Four-Ball Match Play. Unfortunately, you wont find the answer there.
 
Now that we know the form of play, the first thing we have to deal with is the concession of your putt. When your opponent conceded your putt and knocked your ball away, he was totally within the rules. Under rule #2, Match Play, rule 2-4 states a player may concede his opponents next stroke at any time provided the opponents ball is at rest. It also says a concession may not be declined or withdrawn. Right now, he conceded your putt and you are forced to accept the concession.
 
But you still want to putt your golf ball. If we were playing singles match play, you would be allowed to putt your ball. But we are playing four-ball so it against the rules. Decision 2-4/6 in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf gives us the answer. A player incurs no penalty for holing out after a concession. However, if the act would be assistance to a partner in a four-ball or best-ball match, the partner is, in equity, disqualified for the hole. This is the situation you are in, if you put your golf ball back down and putt it, you would be assisting your partner. Now you still have your bogey, and your partner is disqualified from the hole.
 
I know this is not the answer you were hoping for, but it is right there in black and white. If you putt your ball after the concession your team will be penalized. Remember, it is only a penalty in four-ball or best-ball when you are assisting your partner. When you are playing singles, you are permitted to putt out after a concession.
 
Ray
 
Email your on-course rules dispute to Rules Judge Ray