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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McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

“It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

“Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.  

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Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign

By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 1:36 pm

A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.

Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.

Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.

And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”

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Rory looking for that carefree inner-child

By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eleven years later, Rory McIlroy cringes at the photo: the yellow sweater with the deep V-neck, the chubby cheeks and the messy mop that curled under his cap.

“You live and you learn,” he said Wednesday, offering a wry smile.

The last time McIlroy played at a Carnoustie Open, in 2007, he earned the Silver Medal as the low amateur. He tied for 42nd, but the final result had mattered little. Grateful just to have a spot in the field, courtesy of his European Amateur title, he bounced along the fairways, soaking up every moment, and lingered behind the 18th green as one of his local heroes, Padraig Harrington, battled one of his favorite players, Sergio Garcia. Waiting for the trophy presentation, he passed the time playing with Padraig’s young son, Paddy. On Wednesday, McIlroy spotted Paddy, now 15, walking around Carnoustie with his three-time-major-winning father.

“He’s massive now – he towers over me,” he said. “It’s so funny thinking back on that day.”

But it’s also instructive. If there’s a lesson to be learned from ’07, it’s how carefree McIlroy approached and played that week. He was reminded again of that untroubled attitude while playing a practice round here with 23-year-old Jon Rahm, who stepped onto each tee, unsheathed his driver and bombed away with little regard for the wind or the bounce or the fescue. McIlroy smiled, because he remembers a time, not too long ago, that he’d attack a course with similar reckless abandon.

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I just think, as you get older, you get a little more cautious in life,” said McIlroy, 29. “I think it’s only natural. There’s something nice about being young and being oblivious to some stuff. The more I can get into that mindset, the better I’ll play golf.”

And so on the eve of this Open, as he approaches the four-year anniversary of his last major title, McIlroy finds himself searching for a way to channel that happy-go-lucky 18-year-old who was about to take the world by storm, to tap into the easygoing excellence that once defined his dominance.

It’s been a year since he first hinted at what he’s been missing. Last year’s Open at Royal Birkdale was the final event of his long run with caddie J.P. Fitzgerald. The chief reason for the split, he said, had nothing to do with some of the questionable on-course decisions, but rather a desire to take ownership of him game, to be freed up alongside one of his best friends, Harry Diamond.

That partnership has produced only one victory so far, and over the past few months, McIlroy has at times looked unsettled between the ropes. It’s difficult to compute, how someone with seemingly so much – a résumé with four majors, a robust bank account, a beautiful wife – can also appear disinterested and unmotivated.

“I think sometimes I need to get back to that attitude where I play carefree and just happy to be here,” he said. “A golf tournament is where I feel the most comfortable. It’s where I feel like I can 100 percent be myself and express myself. Sometimes the pressure that’s put on the top guys to perform at such a level every week, it starts to weigh on you a little bit. The more I can be like that kid, the better.”

It’s a decidedly different landscape from when the erstwhile Boy Wonder last won a major, in summer 2014. Jordan Spieth had won just a single Tour event, not three majors. Dustin Johnson wasn’t world No. 1 but merely a tantalizing tease, a long-hitting, fast-living physical freak who was just beginning a six-month break to address "personal challenges." Two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka hadn’t even started playing in the States.  

McIlroy’s greatest asset, both then and now, was his driving – he put on clinics at Congressional and Kiawah, Hoylake and Valhalla. He was a mainstay at or near the top of the strokes gained: tee to green rankings, but over the past few years, because of better technology, fitness and coaching, the gap between him and the rest of the field has shrunk.

“I think at this stage players have caught up,” Harrington said. “There’s many players who drive the ball comparable and have certainly eaten into that advantage. Rory is well on pace to get into double digits with majors, but it has got harder. There’s no doubt there’s more players out there who are capable of having a big week and a big game for a major. It makes it tough.”

It’s not as though McIlroy hasn’t had opportunities to add to his major haul; they’ve just been less frequent and against stronger competition. In the 13 majors since he last won, he’s either finished in the top 10 or missed the cut in 11 of them. This year, he played in the final group at the Masters, and was on the verge of completing the career Grand Slam, before a soul-crushing 74 on the last day. His U.S. Open bid was over after nine holes, after an opening 80 and a missed cut during which he declined to speak to reporters after both frustrating rounds.

“I’m trying,” he said Wednesday. “I’m trying my best every time I tee it up, and it just hasn’t happened.”

A year after saying that majors are the only events that will define the rest of his career, he recently shrugged off the doom and gloom surrounding his Grand Slam drought: “It doesn’t keep me up at night, thinking, If I never won another major, I can’t live with myself.”

Eleven years ago, McIlroy never would have troubled himself with such trivial questions about his legacy. But perhaps a return to Carnoustie, to where his major career started, is just what he needs to unlock his greatness once again.


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Own history, grow the game with Open memorabilia auction

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 1:00 pm

Get a piece of history and help grow the game, that's what The Open is offering with its memorabilia auction.

The official Open Memorabilia site features unique Open assets from famous venues and Champion Golfers of the Year. All net proceeds received by The R&A from this project will be invested to support the game for future generations, including encouraging women’s, junior and family golf, on the promotion and progression of the sport in emerging golf nations and on coaching and development.

Items for auction include limited edition prints of Champion Golfers of the Year, signed championship pin flags and limited edition historical program covers. Memorable scorecard reproductions and caddie bibs are also available to bid for on the website, with all items featuring branded, serialized holograms for authenticity.

Click here to own your piece of history and to get more information on the auction.