Rules Guy: Can I clean my ball if an animal urinates on it?

January 22, 2019

The Rules of Golf are tricky! Thankfully, we’ve got the guru. Our Rules Guy knows the book front to back. Got a question? He’s got all the answers.Rules Guy
As my friend and I were approaching his tee shot in the fairway, a fox trotted out of the woods, sniffed the ball and then urinated on it. Is my friend allowed to clean or replace the ball? —DAVID COLE, VIA E-MAIL
Well, presumably unlike the now “marked” golf ball, the rules here are cut and dried. In equity, the player is entitled to the lie present when the ball came to rest. Thus, your friend may lift and clean the ball. If there is, um, “casual water” present, the player can take relief under Rule 25-1, which also allows the ball to be cleaned (and disinfected). 


Got a rules question? Of course you do! Whatever it may be, send yours to [email protected] and the question may be answered in an upcoming issue of GOLF. Until then, play by the Rules!