Ask the Rules Guy
By Rules Guy
Thursday, September 26, 2013

RULES GUY: I had a long eagle putt on a short par 5. I couldn't see the hole, so after I hit the ball, I followed it toward the cup. I got there just as the ball did and when it started to slow near the hole, I jokingly stamped my foot to "help" the ball go in. Well, it did, and I left the green wondering whether my Riverdance impression actually caused it to fall. I may have cheated myself out of my first eagle! Help, Rules Guy!
-- Seth Perigo, Chicago, Ill.

You might need a leap of faith to believe this complicated ruling. According to Decision 1-2/4, if the ball was still moving when you stamped your foot, you are deemed to have taken action to influence the movement of the ball, which is a two-stroke penalty. If it was at rest when you stamped your foot, it would've only been a one-stroke penalty and you would have had to replace the ball. If it was not possible to tell whether it was moving or not, the Rules are not kind here because it is presumed to be moving if it cannot be determined that it was at rest. So instead of your coveted eagle, you actually scored a par.

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