• Rules: Ball in the drink

    Jason Day ball at The Masters
    Play it as it lies?

    Another in our monthly series from Sunshine Tour rules official REINARD KILLIAN to help you master the golf course.

    The first Major of the year has come and gone, and suffice to say the 2018 Masters has set an incredible tone for the Majors this year with Patrick Reed’s phenomenal victory.

    As is the case with the players, The Masters is an equally momentous occasion for the rules officials who do duty there.

    One of the more interesting rulings at this year’s Masters involved Sunshine Tour tournament director Gary Todd.

    Gary was attending the tournament as part of the Rules Committee, and this particular incident involves one of those rules golfers and fans should pay particular attention to, because both will benefit.

    As is customary for the officials, Gary was assigned a specific hole to work on each day. In round one he was fortunate to be given the 1st hole.

    Australian Jason Day had teed off and his shot found some trouble. While attempting to hit a recovery shot, Day’s ball ricocheted off one of the many trees lining the fairway, bounced off the shoulder of one the fans (apologies, ‘patrons’) and landed right in his beer.

    A true case of a golf ball landing in the drink if ever there was one.

    So what to do?

    The rules state that if a ball in motion is accidentally stopped by an outside agency, it is the ‘rub of the green’ and the ball must be played as it lies.

    Now that is all fine and well, but tell that to the patron regarding the money he paid for his beer.

    In this case, as the ball came to rest in the beer cup, Day was allowed to remove his golf ball and drop it, without penalty, as near as possible to the spot underneath the cup of beer where it was when the ball came to rest (Rules 19-1 and 24-1).

    From here he was able to play back to the fairway and eventually score a five on his opening hole.

    The amusing thing was that the patron, not wanting to waste the golden nectar, first downed the remainder of his beer before handing Day his ball.

    No wonder the ball didn’t quite fly straight for the next few holes!

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