Ball mysteriously back in play - what is the ruling?

davelef

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Whilst playing in a match play competition I hit my tee shot which appeared to be going out of bounds towards a group of bystanders though neither me nor my opponent saw it land. I subsequently played a provisional but on walking up the fairway found the original ball just on the edge of the rough some 10yds in from the out of bounds posts. With no definitive proof of what had happened I played the ball as it lay though my opponent tried to argue that the only possible explanation was that the bystanders must have thrown it back onto the course. They had moved on so with no way of checking my argument was that it could have hit a rock, post or the nearby path so how it ended up back in play was neither certain or almost certain and so I was entitled to play the ball as found.
Was this correct? And if not what should have happened as a result - or should happen now that the match has ended?
 

Steven Rules

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Was it known or virtually certain (95%) that your ball at rest was moved (i.e. thrown back onto the course) by an outside influence? Alternatively, is it known or virtually certain that your ball in motion was deliberately stopped or deflected by a person?

If the answer to both of these is 'no' then play it as it lies with no penalty.

The key test is known or virtual certainty.

Any dispute needed to be resolved, or request for a ruling needed to be made, before either player teed off on the next hole. Otherwise it is too late and the result of the hole (and match) stands.

(If there was virtual certainty for either of those occurrences then you played from a wrong place. Loss of hole.)
 

salfordlad

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(If there was virtual certainty for either of those occurrences then you played from a wrong place. Loss of hole.)
Pedantry warning Steven. If KVC ball was thrown back from OOB then it was a wrong ball (9.6/4).
They had moved on so with no way of checking my argument was that it could have hit a rock, post or the nearby path so how it ended up back in play was neither certain or almost certain and so I was entitled to play the ball as found.
Was this correct? And if not what should have happened as a result - or should happen now that the match has ended?
Entitlement is not the correct word, it is a requirement to play the ball as lies (rule 9.1) unless there was KVC the ball was thrown back on the course (or some other human interference as Steven noted).
 

davelef

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Thanks for the replies. As mentioned in original post neither of us saw the ball land having lost sight of it in the air - though it was heading OOB. On this basis I feel comfortable that I was correct to play it as it lay given it was NOT known or virtually certain that it ended up in bounds due to any outside influence (even if this is a possibility) given that a number of other scenarios are also possible.
 

salfordlad

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Quite. I thought of that after the event, and I equally thought "I'll bet salfordlad spots it and pulls me up on it."

Thank you for keeping us all honest and on the right track.
I was equally sure you would spot it yourself if you returned and reflected further. We can all benefit from knowledgeable eyes reviewing our stuff from time to time.
 

backwoodsman

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A slightly different take to OP scenario...
A 140yd par 3, with green tight to OOB on right (about 5 yd to fence with public woods beyond). Green is fully visible. Player A hits green. 1 ball visible on green. Player B slices ball into woods. No-one sees it land. Player C hits green. Player B declares provisional and hits green. 3 balls now visible on green. Walk to green, with view of green very briefly obscured. On arrival, four balls now visible on green, including B's original ball. Which ball should B play?
 

Steven Rules

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Player B should play the original ball unless it is (as per #4) known or virtually certain (95%) that B's ball at rest was moved onto the putting green by an outside influence or that it is known or virtually certain that B's ball in motion was deliberately stopped or deflected by a person.

What is your theory on how/why B's original ball was actually on the putting green despite the group's initial expectations and observations? And what is the evidence to support either this theory or any counter conspiracy theory?
 
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backwoodsman

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Player B should play the original ball unless it is (as per #4) known or virtually certain (95%) that B's ball at rest was moved onto the putting green by an outside influence or that it is known or virtually certain that B's ball in motion was deliberately stopped or deflected by a person.

What is your theory on how/why B's original ball was actually on the putting green despite the group's initial expectations and observations? And what is the evidence to support either this theory or any counter conspiracy theory?
Theory was that B's original ball was not on the green after his shot, nor was it on the green for the duration of C's shot and B's provisional shot. It only appeared during the period when we were walking to the green and were 'un-sighted'. Was presumed that B's original could not be bouncing around in the woods for, say, 5 minutes without coming to rest, so presumed that unknown person in the woods threw it back (a not uncommon event).
 

Slab

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I guess you’ll know the specifics of the green in question
On most of our par 3’s there are places a ball can be on the green & hidden in plain sight from that distance and not seen till the angle of view changes approaching the hole (so a bounce out from the trees etc is quite possible & not be seen, especially when all players are looking at the trees and not the green)

But I appreciate there’s also greens where its very unlikely for a ball to find a hiding spot like that
 

Colin L

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If, as seems to be the case, there can be no way of establishing that B's original ball came to rest out of bounds and was then moved on to the green, it is in play where it lies on the green and the provisional must be abandoned. The question then is how to proceed and the answer to that lies in what you can determine as to how it got there. Possibilities? a) It was deflected on to the green by something. b) It came to rest in the trees and was moved on to the green by an outside influence, most likely a person. If there isn't virtual certainty that b) is the answer, then B plays the ball as it lies. That may be the most monstrous piece of luck because in reality someone picked up his ball in the woods and chucked it on to the green, but you can only act on what is known or is virtually certain to be the case. If there was virtual certainty then B is out of luck and must play from the estimated spot form which his ball was moved by the outside influence. From the information given, I don't see virtual certainty and reckon B plays his original ball from where it lies.

Given the difficulty and uncertainties around this, B should play both original and provisional ball and seek a ruling from the Committee. (lucky Committee :))
 
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clubchamp98

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I remember on the news a par three in Spain.
You couldn’t see the green but they were having an unprecedented amount of holes in one.
They installed a camera and there was a cat that ran on the green unseen by the players pushing the balls in the hole.

How would that play out without the evidence from the cameras when you get back to the clubhouse.
Where do you play from?
Two balls?
If it’s matchplay?

Bizzare incident.
 

backwoodsman

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If, as seems to be the case, there can be no way of establishing that B's original ball came to rest out of bounds and was then moved on to the green, it is in play where it lies on the green and the provisional must be abandoned. The question then is how to proceed and the answer to that lies in what you can determine as to how it got there. Possibilities? a) It was deflected on to the green by something. b) It came to rest in the trees and was moved on to the green by an outside influence, most likely a person. If there isn't virtual certainty that b) is the answer, then B plays the ball as it lies. That may be the most monstrous piece of luck because in reality someone picked up his ball in the woods and chucked it on to the green, but you can only act on what is known or is virtually certain to be the case. If there was virtual certainty then B is out of luck and must play from the estimated spot form which his ball was moved by the outside influence. From the information given, I don't see virtual certainty and reckon B plays his original ball from where it lies.

Given the difficulty and uncertainties around this, B should play both original and provisional ball and seek a ruling from the Committee. (lucky Committee :))
Due to topography, the entire green is visible - there are no 'hiding places' if a ball is on the green. Our concern was that the ball was definitely not on the green after the shot. So, for it not to have come to rest, it had to be moving for the entire duration of C taking his shot, and then the duration of B taking his provisional. And a bit more, because it still wasnt there by then. So in view of options a) and b) above - whilst we didn’t really have virtual certainty of someone chucking it back, we did have absolute certainty that it had come to rest somewhere and not on the green. (For info it was only a friendly game, so we just told him to suck it and play the provisional. Just trying to ascertain if we were wrong ...)
 

salfordlad

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I remember on the news a par three in Spain.
You couldn’t see the green but they were having an unprecedented amount of holes in one.
They installed a camera and there was a cat that ran on the green unseen by the players pushing the balls in the hole.

How would that play out without the evidence from the cameras when you get back to the clubhouse.
Where do you play from?
Two balls?
If it’s matchplay?

Bizzare incident.
Was the cat a regular drinker at the club bar? :D
 

salfordlad

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Due to topography, the entire green is visible - there are no 'hiding places' if a ball is on the green. Our concern was that the ball was definitely not on the green after the shot. So, for it not to have come to rest, it had to be moving for the entire duration of C taking his shot, and then the duration of B taking his provisional. And a bit more, because it still wasnt there by then. So in view of options a) and b) above - whilst we didn’t really have virtual certainty of someone chucking it back, we did have absolute certainty that it had come to rest somewhere and not on the green. (For info it was only a friendly game, so we just told him to suck it and play the provisional. Just trying to ascertain if we were wrong ...)
On these facts, you have KVC the ball has been moved by an outside influence (9.6). Player must continue with the ball from where it was estimated to have come to rest. Unless there was a little river of extremely slow running water bringing your ball to the green, natural forces could not have caused the movement.
 

Colin L

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Due to topography, the entire green is visible - there are no 'hiding places' if a ball is on the green. Our concern was that the ball was definitely not on the green after the shot. So, for it not to have come to rest, it had to be moving for the entire duration of C taking his shot, and then the duration of B taking his provisional. And a bit more, because it still wasnt there by then. So in view of options a) and b) above - whilst we didn’t really have virtual certainty of someone chucking it back, we did have absolute certainty that it had come to rest somewhere and not on the green. (For info it was only a friendly game, so we just told him to suck it and play the provisional. Just trying to ascertain if we were wrong ...)
With that information, I'd agree that there is virtual certainty your ball was moved by an outside influence.
 
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