Lifting of ball in play

Dutch Boy

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This question has me stumped! I answered "c" but answer given is "a" Any comments as to why A is correct?
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3. In stroke play, Doug’s ball is at rest in its own pitch mark in the fringe. Without marking his ball, he lifts and cleans it, then repairs the pitch mark for the care of the course. He then realizes the repair of the pitch mark may have helped him as it may be on his line of play as he intends to putt the ball for his next stroke. He drops the ball, and it comes to rest in the relief area, with the repaired pitch mark now on his line of play.
Which ONE of the following is accurate?
a. Doug has proceeded correctly, and a stroke made will result in no penalties. Rule 8.2b Exception
b. Doug is penalized 2 strokes for improving his CATS.
c. Doug is penalized 1 stroke for a bad procedure of not marking and cleaning.
d. Doug is penalized 3 strokes for bad procedure (1 PS) and for improving CATS (2 PS)
 

rulefan

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c) Does not apply as 16.3 does not require the spot to be marked nor the ball to be replaced.
a) The Exception (care of the course) to 8.2b applies.
 

Steven Rules

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It is not c. The ball is embedded in its own pitch mark. Free relief is available via 16.3.

There is no requirement to mark the ball before lifting it in these circumstances. See last sentence of 14.1a. The ball may be cleaned - and even substituted - when it is lifted in this scenario.

In answer a, they quote the Exception to 8.2b. I am unconvinced by this. In my view 8.1a(3) applies. General penalty.

I would have answered b.
 

rulefan

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It is not c. The ball is embedded in its own pitch mark. Free relief is available via 16.3.

There is no requirement to mark the ball before lifting it in these circumstances. See last sentence of 14.1a. The ball may be cleaned - and even substituted - when it is lifted in this scenario.

In answer a, they quote the Exception to 8.2b. I am unconvinced by this. In my view 8.1a(3) applies. General penalty.

I would have answered b.
Having reread 8.2b I am inclined to rule as you. IMO the key is in the italics

This Rule only covers a player’s deliberate actions to alter other physical conditions to affect their ball at rest or stroke to be made.
 

Steven Rules

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8.2b and its Exception are not applicable. They apply only to altering physical conditions other than the conditions affecting the stroke, whereas in this case it is the line of play (i.e. one of the CATS) that is affected. Clarification 8.2b/1 reinforces that 8.2b applies only to altering physical conditions other than the conditions affecting the stroke.
 

Chinny

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The correct answer is A Rule 8.2 Exception. Care for the course.
The player repaired the pitch mark when they had their ball in their hand so they did not improve their line of play because the line of play was unknown.
The pitch mark is outside the Relief Area so the player is not in breach of 8.1a(3)
If the player had repaired the pitch mark on their line of play after dropping the ball and pitch mark was on their line of play then it would be the General Penalty for breach of 8.1a
 

Crow

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I'm puzzled by the answers, I thought you couldn't improve your line of play, which includes pitch marks made by you or preceding players.

The only pitch marks on your line that could be repaired are those made by the shots of others, played after your ball had come to rest?
 

salfordlad

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a. is the correct answer. And on the facts of the question, it does not even rely on the 8.2 Exception.

The key to understanding is be aware that the plug mark, once that ball is lifted to take relief, is not part of the CATS when the player is dropping into the relief area - the plug mark is outside the relief area and the player does not have a line of play. Even if the player intends to putt directly over that plug mark and sought to drop to achieve that, it is not an 8.1 issue, but an 8.2 issue, so if the player also intends to care for the course (as in the OP) then the 8.2 Exception applies.

But don't take my word for it, this is published USGA material:

"Your ball is embedded in its own pitch-mark in the fringe just off the putting green. After lifting the ball and before taking relief, you tap down the pitch-mark to care for the course and then realize the repair of the pitch-mark could help you if the ball comes to rest in a position where you might have to play through it. The dropped ball hits and comes to rest in the relief area and you play a low running chip directly over the pitch-mark. You get the general penalty under Rule 8.1a for improving your conditions affecting the stroke. True or false?

Answer is false. Explanation: When and why you repaired the pitch-mark are both critical factors. First, the pitch-mark was not part of the CATS when you repaired it so Rule 8.1 does not apply - it was not part of the relief area (see Rule 16.3a for how embedded ball relief works) and you did not yet have a line of play.
Additionally, Rule 8.2 would apply only to actions you took to deliberately affect where your ball might roll or to affect a future stroke, which wasn't why you fixed it. No penalty and play on."

Here some further Q/As that help elucidate the issues (the questions are mine, the bolded answers are the USGA's):

Question A: your ball is embedded in the fringe just off the putting green. After lifting the ball and before taking relief, you tap down the pitch-mark because your preferred dropping location is precisely behind the pitch-mark and it could interfere with your intended putt. You drop the ball and proceed to putt. What is the ruling? The player is in breach of Rule 8.2

Question B
: your ball is embedded in the fringe just off the putting green. After lifting the ball and before taking relief, you tap down the pitch-mark because your preferred dropping location is precisely behind the pitch-mark and it could interfere with your intended putt but also to care for the course. You drop the ball and proceed to putt. What is the ruling? No penalty, the "care for the course exception" in Rule 8.2 applies.
 

Crow

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So in taking exactly the same actions, in one case you're penalised and in the other you're not? o_O

It's unnecessary complications like this that put me off the rules, just make it such that you can't repair the pitch mark, there will be time to care for the course after the chip or putt..

Tell me, did this come in with the rule revisions of 2019?
 

D-S

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a. is the correct answer. And on the facts of the question, it does not even rely on the 8.2 Exception.

The key to understanding is be aware that the plug mark, once that ball is lifted to take relief, is not part of the CATS when the player is dropping into the relief area - the plug mark is outside the relief area and the player does not have a line of play. Even if the player intends to putt directly over that plug mark and sought to drop to achieve that, it is not an 8.1 issue, but an 8.2 issue, so if the player also intends to care for the course (as in the OP) then the 8.2 Exception applies.

But don't take my word for it, this is published USGA material:

"Your ball is embedded in its own pitch-mark in the fringe just off the putting green. After lifting the ball and before taking relief, you tap down the pitch-mark to care for the course and then realize the repair of the pitch-mark could help you if the ball comes to rest in a position where you might have to play through it. The dropped ball hits and comes to rest in the relief area and you play a low running chip directly over the pitch-mark. You get the general penalty under Rule 8.1a for improving your conditions affecting the stroke. True or false?

Answer is false. Explanation: When and why you repaired the pitch-mark are both critical factors. First, the pitch-mark was not part of the CATS when you repaired it so Rule 8.1 does not apply - it was not part of the relief area (see Rule 16.3a for how embedded ball relief works) and you did not yet have a line of play.
Additionally, Rule 8.2 would apply only to actions you took to deliberately affect where your ball might roll or to affect a future stroke, which wasn't why you fixed it. No penalty and play on."

Here some further Q/As that help elucidate the issues (the questions are mine, the bolded answers are the USGA's):

Question A: your ball is embedded in the fringe just off the putting green. After lifting the ball and before taking relief, you tap down the pitch-mark because your preferred dropping location is precisely behind the pitch-mark and it could interfere with your intended putt. You drop the ball and proceed to putt. What is the ruling? The player is in breach of Rule 8.2

Question B
: your ball is embedded in the fringe just off the putting green. After lifting the ball and before taking relief, you tap down the pitch-mark because your preferred dropping location is precisely behind the pitch-mark and it could interfere with your intended putt but also to care for the course. You drop the ball and proceed to putt. What is the ruling? No penalty, the "care for the course exception" in Rule 8.2 applies.
Re the two questions, how do you know if the action is also to ‘care for the course’?
 

salfordlad

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Re the two questions, how do you know if the action is also to ‘care for the course’?
A referee/Committee likely needs to ask questions of the player if called on to make a ruling on these issues. In practice, I've never met a regular golfer on the course that understands the rules nuance here - and that works to protect them from problems because almost everyone thinks they can't repair that pitch mark. And most of the time that is correct.

So in taking exactly the same actions, in one case you're penalised and in the other you're not? o_O
Yes. What is in the player's head often influences the answer to rules questions.
 

D-S

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I’m currently revising the rules as I have a Level 2 rules seminar in February and these sorts of ‘rules nuances’ make taking this next step even more daunting.
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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Anyone else had to Google CATS ...? :whistle:
not yet but will have to as got absolutely no idea what it stands for 🤷‍♂️🤔 and it seems crucial to the discussion and ruling…

Not wishing to be seen to be a Moaning Minnie but jeez, the rules can be complicated and nuanced without uncommon acronyms and abbreviations being used.
 
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Crow

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A referee/Committee likely needs to ask questions of the player if called on to make a ruling on these issues. In practice, I've never met a regular golfer on the course that understands the rules nuance here - and that works to protect them from problems because almost everyone thinks they can't repair that pitch mark. And most of the time that is correct.


Yes. What is in the player's head often influences the answer to rules questions.

If you've never met a regular golfer who understands that nuance, do you not think that it's a stupid nuance?
 
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