Ask Rules Guy

Monday August 20th, 2007

DEAR RULES GUY: My putt rolled past the hole and hit my competitor's wedge lying on the green during match play. He said I should replay the stroke, but I thought my ball should remain where it came to rest. Who's right? — Todd Loberg, via e-mail

ANSWER: Todd, I'm reminded of the age-old debate on whether Fig Newtons are fruit or cake: You're both right! There's no penalty for hitting another player's equipment, so you may play it as it lies. But Rule 19-3 lets you replay the putt, sans penalty, as near as possible from the original spot. That's correct — the Rules allow do-overs!

DEAR RULER: I was in the rough when a breeze rocked my ball backward during my backswing. I hit the ball anyway — and right on the green! My friend said I should be penalized one stroke. I said I was covered since Mother Nature was the culprit. What's the ruling? — Carey Brixton, via e-mail

ANSWER: If your ball moves after you address it, Rule 18-2b assumes you caused the movement, even if a gust from the gods is to blame. That's a one-stroke penalty, whether or not you took a swing. If you don't swing, or if you stop before contact, you must replace the ball. If you swing away, no need to fetch and replace your ball—just play it as it lies, but add that extra stroke.

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