Rule 1.3c(4) Applying Penalties to Multiple Breaches of the Rules

Colin L

Tour Winner
May 26, 2012
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In a significant about turn the USGA has published this ruling on its Facebook page about the penalty in stroke play if after playing a wrong ball the player plays another before correcting the error. Previously, the answer was that the player got two general penalties, one for each wrong ball. The following ruling changes that to one general penalty for the first wrong ball. He/she doesn't get another penalty for the second wrong ball:
.....we've been mulling over this answer and have an agreed position (that has changed from what may previously have been stated and answered): If a player makes a stroke at a wrong ball they get the general penalty. In stroke play, if they make a stroke at another wrong ball before correcting the mistake, they do not get a second general penalty.
This is similar to our position when a player has played from outside the teeing area and before correcting the mistake plays a wrong ball, they do not get an additional wrong ball penalty.