DEAR RULES GUY: My putt rolled past the hole and hit my competitor’s wedge lying on the green during match play. He said I should replay the stroke, but I thought my ball should remain where it came to rest. Who’s right? — Todd Loberg, via e-mail
ANSWER: Todd, I’m reminded of the age-old debate on whether Fig Newtons are fruit or cake: You’re both right! There’s no penalty for hitting another player’s equipment, so you may play it as it lies. But Rule 19-3 lets you replay the putt, sans penalty, as near as possible from the original spot. That’s correct — the Rules allow do-overs!
DEAR RULER: I was in the rough when a breeze rocked my ball backward during my backswing. I hit the ball anyway — and right on the green! My friend said I should be penalized one stroke. I said I was covered since Mother Nature was the culprit. What’s the ruling? — Carey Brixton, via e-mail
ANSWER: If your ball moves after you address it, Rule 18-2b assumes you caused the movement, even if a gust from the gods is to blame. That’s a one-stroke penalty, whether or not you took a swing. If you don’t swing, or if you stop before contact, you must replace the ball. If you swing away, no need to fetch and replace your ballâ€”just play it as it lies, but add that extra stroke.