Rules to Play By Where Do I Drop

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 11, 2007, 4:00 pm
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
A par 3 where I play has a forced carry over water. If the ball hits land on the opposite side of the water hazard, but rolls back into the water, where should the next shot be played from? Weve had many disagreements over this. I say you have not carried the water hazard and must drop behind it.
Thank you, Steve


From the way you are describing the par 3, it sounds like it is marked with yellow paint or stakes. If that is the case, it is a water hazard. You have three relief options when you hit your ball into a water hazard, they can be found in Rule #26. (Water Hazards)
1. Play it as it lies (no penalty)
2. Stroke and Distance (1 stroke penalty)
3. Drop a ball behind hazard keeping in line the flagstick and point where the ball last crossed the margin of the hazard (1 stroke penalty)
You are correct when you said the ball did not carry the water hazard. The point you are looking for is where the ball last crossed the hazard line. If your shot carried the hazard line and rolled back in, use that point for option 3 above. If your shot did not carry the hazard line on the green side, you will have to use the last point where it crossed on your side of the water. Either way, you have to drop the ball behind the hazard in line with the flagstick and where he ball last crossed. Unless you want to hit the ball from in the water, you will have to hit another ball over the water.
-- Ray

While addressing my ball before my second shot on the fairway, my club touches -- but doesn't move -- my ball. Does this count as a stroke? What if the ball moves only slightly, but returns to it's original position, after moving the club back...does this count as a stroke?
Shawn Campbell
Folsom, Calif.

The answer to your question can be found in the front of the rule book in the Definitions section. A ball is deemed to have moved if it leaves its position and comes to rest in any other position. As far as the rule book sees it, there would be no penalties for the two examples listed in your question. In both your examples, the ball never came to rest in any other position.
Just remember, if you ever move your golf ball, you must put it back to its original position and take a one-stroke penalty. Be careful when addressing the golf ball; try not to get so close where you might be penalized.
-- Ray

Recently, I drove my ball into the fairway and then turned over the tee to my playing partner for his tee shot. He also drove his ball into the fairway and low and behold it ended its roll directly behind and touching may ball which is now closer to the hole than his. How to we play this? Do we pick up my ball and leave a mark in front of his ball for him to shoot over, then drop my ball at the marked spot. Or do we place the ball on the marked area and then play my shot. Thanks for your help.
Al Packwood
Bradenton, Florida

You would think with how much room there is on a golf course, you wouldnt have to worry about hitting two little golf balls right next to each other. This happens more than you think. The correct procedure is to mark one of the golf balls and lift it. Be careful not to clean the golf ball when you lift it, it would be a one-stroke penalty. After the player has played his approach shot, you replace the ball to its original position. Place it, dont drop it.
If the original lie has been altered with a divot, the ball must be placed in the nearest lie most similar to the original lie. This point cannot be more that one-club length away or closer to the hole than the original lie.

My son hit me with this one the other day. He said that a PGA TOUR player can only have one dozen golf balls in his bag during tournament play. I said he was smoking bio-degradable tees. Is there any thing in the rules about the number of golf balls you can start a tournament with?
Jerry H Mika

Fourteen golf clubs is the only limitation on equipment that I know of. A few years ago I was lucky enough to caddie for a player on The Champions Tour. I can tell you from personal experience that he carried more that 12 golf balls. He would sign that many during a round and give them to the kids who were watching. So tell you son that he got some bad info, and that smoking tees will stunt his growth.
Thank you for your questions,
Ray Herzog
Email your Rules of Golf questions to Ray
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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

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In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.