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Rules to Play By Bending the Rules

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 A concession may not be declined or withdrawn, but in this case there never was a concession.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
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