I disagree with the USGA subsequent response. Imo, it is contrary to 11.2a/1, where it says:It is not at all common that USGA responses to questions on that site break new ground, but it does occur on occasion. The specific one I'm referring to above is:
Interpretation 11.2a/1 allows a player to leave a rake, without penalty, left by a preceding group that might stop his downhill putt. What if a putter (or the rake) had been left on the green. Can the player leave it below the hole to potentially stop his putt if he misses? If he accidentally hits it (by missing putt) does the stroke count? I'm confused by, what seems to me, to be conflicting language in 11.1 vs 11.2a/1.
If the player knew his ball may hit the rake or putter that had been left behind by a preceding group, exception 2 to Rule 11.1b does not apply and because the object was not deliberately put in place by the player, Rule 11.2 does not apply. The ball must be played as it lies, because the player played the course as he found it.
The USGA subsequently added:
In your post above, the player is intentionally leaving the rake on the putting green because it might stop the ball. This is no longer an accident and why Exc 2 to 11.1b cannot apply. Since the player is not the one who left the rake/club there, 11.2 doesn't apply either. This is different from a player seeing the rake/club left behind thinking they're not likely in play, putting and then accidentally hitting one of them.
An example where the player does not get a penalty is when: