Ask the Rules Guy
By Rules Guy
Friday, February 01, 2013

Rules Guy: I was on the green standing over my ball when a large dragonfly flying next to the ball distracted me. I stood up out of my stance and waved my putter at the insect to shoo it off. As I was shaking my putter with one hand, it touched my ball, and my opponent immediately called a one-stroke penalty. What rule would apply to this, and did this warrant a penalty stroke?
-- Tim Seitz, Udon Thani, Thailand

Confess, Tim: Are you sure you aren't trying to cover up a case of the yips? If the ball didn't move, you are not penalized since you did not intentionally touch it (Rule 18-2a(i)). Tell your opponent to buzz off. If the ball did move, according to Rule 18-2a(ii), you incur a one-stroke penalty and must replace your ball on the spot where it originally came to rest. Keep your putter off the ball until it's bug free.


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