Ask the Rules Guy: Riverdance eagles and stabilizing tee markers

Ask the Rules Guy: Riverdance eagles and stabilizing tee markers

• Got a Rules question? Zip it to [email protected]

DEAR RULES GUY: I had a long eagle putt on a short par 5. I couldn’t see the hole, so after I hit the ball, I followed it toward the cup. I got there just as the ball did and when it started to slow near the hole, I jokingly stamped my foot to 'help' the ball go in. Well, it did, and I left the green wondering whether my Riverdance impression actually caused it to fall. I may have cheated myself out of my first eagle! Help, Rules Guy!
Seth Perigo, Chicago, Ill.

You might need a leap of faith to believe this complicated ruling. According to Decision 1-2/4, if the ball was still moving when you stamped your foot, you are deemed to have taken action to influence the movement of the ball, which is a two-stroke penalty. If it was at rest when you stamped your foot, it would’ve only been a one-stroke penalty and you would have had to replace the ball. If it was not possible to tell whether it was moving or not, the Rules are not kind here because it is presumed to be moving if it cannot be determined that it was at rest. So instead of your coveted eagle, you actually scored a par.

While standing on the tee box, I noticed that my competitor was placing his left foot against the tee marker, which was a large block of wood. He did this on every tee box to help stabilize his stance. This didn’t seem legal to me, so I called him on it. He said there was nothing in the Rule book that said he couldn’t. Is he right?

Jim Morey, via e-mail

Believe it or not, there is nothing in the Rules of Golf that prohibits the action described, provided your buddy did not cause the tee-marker to move while taking his stance. If he did cause it to move, he would incur a two-stroke penalty under Rule 13-2. In the meantime, commend your pal for the most creative use of a block of wood since Al Gore’s presidential run.