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DEAR RULES GUY: I hit a drive into a creek that was near some out-of-bounds stakes. When I reached the creek, I watched as the water carried my ball downstream from in-bounds to OB. I told my friend I was entitled to the original lie and should be able to drop outside the water hazard with a penalty rather than a stroke-and-distance penalty for OB. He said it only matters where my ball finally came to rest. Who's right?
—Candace Lee, via e-mail
The raging rapids not only sent your ball OB, they also washed you back to the tee. Under Decision 26-1/7, because the ball lies out of bounds, you have to proceed under Rule 27-1b, which covers the stroke-and-distance penalty. Water is not considered an outside agency, so the ball would not be replaced under Rule 18-1, which covers balls moved while at rest.