By Rules Guy
Friday, July 13, 2007

You reach into your pocket to retrieve a coin to mark your ball on the green. But you fumble the coin and accidentally drop it onto your ball, which moves it slightly. You should:

A. Replace your ball without penalty to its original position.

B. Incur a two-stroke penalty and play the ball from its altered position.

C. Incur a one-stroke penalty and replace the ball.

Go to the next page for the answer.

You reach into your pocket to retrieve a coin to mark your ball on the green. But you fumble the coin and accidentally drop it onto your ball, which moves it slightly. You should:

A. Replace your ball without penalty to its original position.

B. Incur a two-stroke penalty and play the ball from its altered position.

C. Incur a one-stroke penalty and replace the ball.

ANSWER: C. Rule 20-1 states that a player is not penalized for accidentally causing his ball to move if the movement of the ball (or ball-marker) is "directly attributable to the specific act of marking the position of or lifting the ball." Unfortunately, in this scenario, fumbling a coin onto the ball does not qualify as "directly attributable" to the act of marking your ball because you are not in the immediate proximity of it.

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