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DEAR RULES GUY: My buddy and I were sharing a caddie, and on the tee of a par 3, I asked our bagman which club my friend had hit. 3-iron, the caddie said. My friend took exception, arguing that this information was confidential and that our caddie had no right to share it. Was my pal right?
— Josh Goodman, Charleston, S.C.
Who was your caddie — Scooter Libby? In the spirit of fair competition, your bagman probably shouldn’t have answered (then again, you probably shouldn’t have asked), but he did nothing wrong. Under Decision 8-1/12, a player is entitled to procure any information his caddie might possess. This applies even when two players are sharing a caddie. Just remember, a sly caddie can also act as a double agent. Are you sure your buddy hit a 3-iron?
DEAR RULES GUY: My tee shot came to rest in the flood waters of an overflowing creek, but it was outside the margins of the hazard stakes. Is this excess water considered to be an extension of the hazard? Or does it qualify as casual water, allowing me a free drop?
— Noah Cermak, South Grafton, Mass.
Some casual water is easy to identify: It wears faded jeans, drinks margaritas and counts Yanni Live at the Acropolis among its favorite albums. Casual water on a golf course can be less conspicuous. Take a look at Decision 25/2, which states that any overflow from a water hazard that is outside the margin of the hazard is indeed casual water. Therefore, under Rule 25-1, which covers abnormal ground conditions, you would have been permitted to take relief one club length from the nearest point of relief, no nearer the hole.