Rule Tip of the Week: Collideoscope

If you happened to watch Sergio Garcia play his final hole of the 2017 BMW Championship at the Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, IL, then you saw a rather unusual and lengthy ruling after his ball came to rest in the shallow stream near the 18th green. He was actually required to drop his ball a short distance away, but within the same hazard! Why? Because there was interference to his intended swing by a nearby grandstand. Here is a series of photographs courtesy of NBC Sports to help you see exactly what transpired.

 

    • The attending Rules Official assists Sergio in estimating where his ball last crossed the margin of the lateral water hazard as Sergio was contemplating taking relief pursuant to Rule 26-1 [Relief for Ball in Water Hazard] under penalty of one stroke.   Thereafter, the Rules Official determined that there was no point on the opposite margin of the lateral water hazard equidistant from the hole. Thus, Sergio could not take relief from the lateral water hazard at the opposite margin pursuant to Rule 26-1c(ii). However, he could still drop a ball within two club-lengths of the point where his ball last crossed the margin of the hazard, or drop behind the hazard on the line extending from the hole through the point where his ball last crossed the margin of the hazard.

 

  • Sergio’s ball came to rest in shallow water in the lateral water hazard. Note the flat, upright rock just to the right of his ball. In order to avoid incurring the penalty stroke under the water hazard Rule, Sergio started thinking about playing a stroke with a wedge to cause his ball to collide into the flat rock with an upward trajectory so that the ball would then ricochet toward the green.

 

  • Sergio then shows the Rules Official how he intends play the stroke to ricochet his ball off the rock. Sergio also points out that playing this stroke will cause the grip end of his club and/or his lower leg to make contact with the white sheathing covering the adjacent grandstand. For this particular situation, the grandstand is a temporary immovable obstruction (TIO), relief from which is allowed without penalty by Local Rule per Appendix I, Part A, 4.b [Temporary Immovable Obstructions]. Per the relevant language in this Local Rule, and based on this demonstration, the Rules Official rules that Sergio is entitled to relief from the grandstand given the swing and/or stance interference and the determination that Sergio’s intended stroke is not “clearly unreasonable” nor is Sergio’s stance “unnecessarily abnormal.

 

  • Using the stroke that Sergio would have played had the TIO not been there, i.e., swinging away from the hole, the Rules Official determines that the nearest part of the course affording complete relief in the hazard is on a rock a foot or so away from where Sergio’s ball lay in the hazard. That nearest part of the course is marked by placing a white tee at that point on that rock. Note that the Local Rule for relief from a TIO states, in part, “If the ball is in a hazard, the player must drop the ball … without penalty … except that the nearest part of the course affording complete relief must be in the hazard and the ball must be dropped in the hazard ….” [Emphasis added]

 

        • Using his driver, Sergio then measures one club-length no nearer the hole than the

        aforementioned nearest part of the course affording complete relief from the TIO and places a tee to mark the extent of the area within the lateral water hazard where he could drop the ball. The Rules Official also makes sure that Sergio aligns his driver parallel to the grandstand so that he will not be dropping at a point where there would be swing interference with the sheathing.
  • Per the Local Rule for TIO’s, Sergio was required to drop the original ball, i.e., he was not permitted to substitute another ball. When he dropped the ball on a rock within the hazard and nearly at the limit of the one club-length area away from the hole, the ball bounced forward and ended up nearer to the hole than the tee marking the nearest part of the course affording complete relief from the TIO. He then had to retrieve his ball and, per Rule 20-2c [When to Re-Drop], he was required to re-drop the ball.

 

  • After the re-dropped ball again pin-balled on the rocks and ended up nearer the hole than the nearest point of relief, Sergio was required to retrieve and then place the ball as near as possible to the spot where it first struck a part of the course when re-dropped. According to Rule 20-3e [Ball Fails to Come to Rest on Spot], “If a ball when placed fails to come to rest on the spot in which it was placed, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced. If it still fails to come to rest on that spot … in a hazard, it must be placed in the hazard at the nearest spot where it can be placed at rest that is not nearer the hole.” In this instance, the Rules Official shows Sergio precisely where he must place his ball at rest that is not nearer the hole.

 

 

    • Sergio is finally ready to play his next stroke after this 20-minute ruling. Note that, after taking relief from the TIO for a stroke away from the green, Sergio is permitted to adopt a completely different direction of play, this time playing towards the green!

 

Also note that Sergio never relinquished the option of taking relief from the lateral water hazard even though he went through the process of taking relief from the TIO for the backwards stroke. In other words, Sergio could go through the procedure of taking relief from the TIO and, if he did not care for the resulting lie of his ball in the water hazard, he could then opt to proceed under Rule 26, dropping a ball outside of the water hazard with a one-stroke penalty!

 

Remember, it pays to know the Rules! It also pays to ask a Rules Official for help when you are unsure of your options and to make sure that you are proceeding correctly under the Rules

Date
Category
September 2017 Rules