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. In the final match of a big local amateur tournament, my opponent, “Chad,” would mark his ball on the green and then roll it along the putting surface to his caddie, presumably for cleaning. I didn’t call him out on it until finally he rolled his ball in the direction of a long eagle putt. I protested to the Rules official, citing Rule 16-1d, which covers testing the putting surface. The official chose only to warn Chad. Naturally, Chad nestled the putt up for a gimme birdie, which won the hole, and I eventually lost 1 up. Afterward, the official said there wasn’t proof of intent, but I think Chad knew exactly what he was doing. What’s your ruling? —MATT STRUBE, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.
Suspicious? Maybe. Still, the ruling is certainly defensible. Per Decision 16-1d/2, the Rules official indeed had to determine intent before deciding whether to penalize Chad with loss of hole (or two strokes in stroke play). [email protected] and the question may be answered in an upcoming issue of GOLF. Until then, play by the Rules!