USGA Quiz Question (Ref# 689)

Steven Rules

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Yes. The act of dropping it and playing it makes it the ball in play and therefore, by definition, not a wrong ball.

Note Rule 14.5a is relevant here. When a player has substituted another ball for the original ball when not allowed under the Rules the player may correct the mistake without penalty but this is allowed only before the ball is played.
 
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Yes. The act of dropping it and playing it makes it the ball in play and therefore, by definition, not a wrong ball.

Note Rule 14.5a is relevant here. When a player has substituted another ball for the original ball when not allowed under the Rules the player may correct the mistake without penalty but this is allowed only before the ball is played.
Thank you...

So....?

If a player sees what he thinks is his ball in long grass/mud and plays it, but it's not his, it's a WRONG BALL...

But if he picks it up, cleans it, looks at it, drops it, plays it, and then finds out it wasn't his... Where's the penalty for being a complete moron? 😅 😅
 

jim8flog

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Lots of Titleist 4s out there!

There is one of the problems though. Every player is required to put unique identifying markings on their ball. The rule makers have declared that the numbers on a ball are not sufficient identification

A player takes out a brand new ball number 1 and his mate also gets given one with the same number . Without putting any markings on the ball they both hit in to roughly the same area of rough. Both balls are found.
Do you know how they should proceed?
 

jim8flog

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But if he picks it up, cleans it, looks at it, drops it, plays it, and then finds out it wasn't his... Where's the penalty for being a complete moron? 😅 😅

Of course the player is only allowed to clean the ball sufficiently to identify the ball as being his so moron seems about right.
 

Viewer

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There is one of the problems though. Every player is required to put unique identifying markings on their ball. The rule makers have declared that the numbers on a ball are not sufficient identification

A player takes out a brand new ball number 1 and his mate also gets given one with the same number . Without putting any markings on the ball they both hit in to roughly the same area of rough. Both balls are found.
Do you know how they should proceed?
No they aren’t and yes I do
 

YandaB

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In the situation you describe here, the found ball is the wrong ball and the player incurs a two stroke penalty for playing it. The player’s original ball is still the ball in play.



The difference is that the player has dropped and played the second ball (i.e. the player has put the second/substitute ball in play) as opposed to walked up and hit a random (wrong) ball.



The Definitions are your friend.

The definition of In Play says that a ball is no longer in play when another ball has been substituted for it, even if not allowed by a Rule. It also says that a ball that is not in play is a wrong ball and the player cannot have more than one ball in play at any time.

The definition of Wrong Ball includes any ball other than the player’s ball in play (whether the original ball or a substituted ball),
Thank you, I think I understand it now. These rules can be difficult at times! Still learning (y)
 

wjemather

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There is one of the problems though. Every player is required to put unique identifying markings on their ball. The rule makers have declared that the numbers on a ball are not sufficient identification

A player takes out a brand new ball number 1 and his mate also gets given one with the same number . Without putting any markings on the ball they both hit in to roughly the same area of rough. Both balls are found.
Do you know how they should proceed?
This isn't true. However a player does need to be able to identify their ball.

In your example, both balls are lost and they must proceed accordingly.
 

jim8flog

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That is nonsense.

7.3 Lifting Ball to Identify It
If a ball might be a player’s ball but cannot be identified as it lies:
• The player may lift the ball to identify it (including by rotating it), but:
• The spot of the ball must first be marked, and the ball must not be cleaned more
than needed to identify it
(except on the putting green) (see Rule 14.1).
 

rulie

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Does the act of picking it up and dropping it before hitting it negate it from being a wrong ball?
Yes. In one of the old Decisions, it implied that while the ball was in the player's hands, he had ample opportunity to identify it as his.
When the ball was dropped, it became his ball in play.
 
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7.3 Lifting Ball to Identify It
If a ball might be a player’s ball but cannot be identified as it lies:
• The player may lift the ball to identify it (including by rotating it), but:
• The spot of the ball must first be marked, and the ball must not be cleaned more
than needed to identify it
(except on the putting green) (see Rule 14.1).
He didn't lift it to identify it, he lifted believing it was his and unplayable.
 

salfordlad

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If a player sees what he thinks is his ball in long grass/mud and plays it, but it's not his, it's a WRONG BALL...

But if he picks it up, cleans it, looks at it, drops it, plays it, and then finds out it wasn't his... Where's the penalty for being a complete moron? 😅 😅
This moron is being penalized-a-plenty. Just playing a wrong ball gets general penalty and can continue with the correct ball. But pick up another (stray) ball, drop and play it, without knowing the location of the original ball, the player gets 3 penalty strokes and must return to the location of the original stroke.
7.3 Lifting Ball to Identify It
If a ball might be a player’s ball but cannot be identified as it lies:
• The player may lift the ball to identify it (including by rotating it), but:
• The spot of the ball must first be marked, and the ball must not be cleaned more
than needed to identify it
(except on the putting green) (see Rule 14.1).
If you pick up someone else's ball (not your partner's), there is no penalty for cleaning it. :)
 

tadabq

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This situation requires careful attention to each component and many are not intuitive. Not all of the explanations are exactly correct, IMO.
The first "problem" is that he dropped a ball under an inapplicable rule. You cannot take "unplayable lie" for a ball that has not been found.
Even though he found "a" ball, it was not "the" ball or his ball "in play". It was a wrong ball. But when he dropped it changed its status from
a wrong ball to a wrongly substituted ball under an inapplicable rule. But he did take a drop for a ball not found. What rule allows you to do that?
You might think there is none. It's like what rule allows you to take a 3 on a hole when you made 4 strokes on the hole? The answer is none
and if you do that the penalty is DQ. But if you think about it, there is one rule which allows you to take a drop for a ball not found and
that is Rule 18.1 which says: "At any time a player may take Stroke and Distance relief..." So there IS a rule that allows you to substitute
a ball for your ball not found. Since this rule exists the player is NOT DISQUALIFIED. However, the player using Rule 18.1 should have returned to the tee to put
a new ball in play but when he played that dropped ball from a forward location two things happened:
1. He played from a WRONG PLACE and
2. The original ball was no longer "in play" and hence became a WRONG BALL.
There is a 2 stroke penalty for playing from a Wrong Place (Rule 14.7).
In addition the Committee needs to decide if this was a Serious Breach or not. In this case the Committee should decide it was a Serious Breach because he played from a place presumably 200+ yards closer to the hole than where he "should" have played. 14.7b tells us for a serious breach: "The player must correct the mistake by playing out the hole
with a ball played from the right place under the Rules." So the player needed to abandon the wrongly substituted ball and return to the tee and play the hole under stroke and distance with a 2 stroke penalty for having played from a Wrong Place.
But that's not what he did. Instead he found and played the original ball. But that ball was no longer "in play" and hence a "wrong ball" (once
he played the wrongly substituted ball (see #2 above). That is a 2 stroke penalty under 6.3c. The stroke itself and subsequent 2 putts do not count under 6.3c.
Furthermore, since this is hole 18 (final hole of the round) and the player has not yet "returned their scorecard" they can still correct the mistake.

So the player can still correct the mistakes because he hasn't returned his scorecard and the mistakes occurred on the last hole of the round.
He must return to the tee and play out the hole. His first drive counts as 1 stroke. He has one penalty stroke for "stroke and distance".
He has 2 penalty strokes for playing from a wrong place (when he played the ball dropped under an inapplicable rule) but since it was a
serious breach the stroke itself does not count. He has 2 penalty strokes for playing a wrong ball but that stroke and subsequent 2 putts do
not count. 1+ 1P + 2P +2P = 6. His next shot will be his seventh.

The 30 seconds is not totally irrelevant. It IS irrelevant in this situation since he played the wrongly substituted ball. At that point the original
ball was not "in play" and was a "wrong ball" (see #2 above). However, in a similar but different situation (Scenario B) where he dropped a ball (wrongly substituted/proceeding
under an inapplicable rule) but hasn't played it, he still has a total of 3 minutes to find (and play) his original ball. Since he has only searched for 2 minutes, in Scenario B if he finds the original ball in 30 seconds, he could play it without penalty. He can correct his mistake of a wrongly substituted ball with no penalty. In Scenario B after
1 additional minute of searching (3 minutes total) the original ball is LOST and the only way to proceed is to go back to the tee hitting 3.
 

tadabq

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At a guess :

1st ball was lost, out of time clearly, so back to the tee to play 3, however also played a wrong ball (2 shots) then another wrong ball (original that was out of time?) another 2 shots.

The arguments might come from lack of lateral thinking. The reference to 30 seconds is a red herring I believe, because there is no way in reality someone could find a ball after 2 minutes searching, then decide to drop it, then play it, then walk to the green, then discover it's a wrong ball, then walk back and find the correct ball all within the initial 3 mins, hence the original is no longer in play.
Not exactly. :-(
 

tadabq

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I accept the explanations above.

But have one query. Given that the question (as written) does not say where the original ball was in relation to the incorrectly substituted ball - how do we know that the substituted ball, when played, was a 'serious breach' of playing from a wrong place - or not? If the 'found ball' and the 'original ball' were close together might not the substituted ball have been dropped either in the right place, or at least close enough to be not a serious breach? (I guess I'm asking was it truly necessary to go back to the tee.) Or is none of this relevant?
Regarding the query. It is a serious breach because he played from a wrong place that was a long way from where he "should" have played under the rules (the tee of #18). It is not in comparison to where his original (unfound) ball was located. The location of that ball is irrelevant when deciding whether the wrong place breach is serious or not.
That is because that ball could not be played under the rules (since it became a wrong ball when he played the dropped ball).
 

tadabq

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My confusion is from the clarification that Steven Rules mentions. If the ball that was found could have been played without relief, then the player would have been correct in what they did (going back and finding their ball within the remaining 30 seconds). I don't quite get why this is regarded as a substitute ball being played from the wrong place. If it had been playable but then the next shot was unplayable, would the same ruling apply?

The definition I read of wrong ball doesn't mention you having to hit it to be one, it just is.

Seems harsh, they are applying all the correct rules, just to the wrong ball. Seems like double jeopardy.

Edit: I guess that I am asking, why is it a substitute ball not a wrong ball?
There is a big difference between a Wrong Ball and a Wrongly Substituted Ball. It's nuance but important. Your score can never count with a Wrong Ball, for example.
Your score can count with a wrongly substituted ball (with penalty) IF it is not a serious breach.
 

tadabq

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There are times when I think the people who think up these questions do not think it through. Would this be a real life situation?

A player picks up the ball and does not realise it is not his ball!!!! Would that really happen?

However I bet there might be one in 1000 players who might do that.
I've dropped a wrong ball converting it into a wrongly substituted ball. Stupid of me but it happens. My par 3 tee shot missed the green but I couldn't find it. I was panicking. Just before 3 minutes I found "a" very similar ball in a crevice in the paved cart path. I was so relieved. I took free relief from the immovable obstruction (artificially surfaced cart path) and chipped onto the green. Marked and lifted the ball and realized it wasn't the ball I had teed off with. My original ball was then found in another crevice in the cart path but it was beyond 3 minutes of searching so I had to go back to the tee hitting 5. :-(
 

salfordlad

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This situation requires careful attention to each component and many are not intuitive. Not all of the explanations are exactly correct, IMO.
The first "problem" is that he dropped a ball under an inapplicable rule. You cannot take "unplayable lie" for a ball that has not been found.
Even though he found "a" ball, it was not "the" ball or his ball "in play". It was a wrong ball. But when he dropped it changed its status from
a wrong ball to a wrongly substituted ball under an inapplicable rule. But he did take a drop for a ball not found. What rule allows you to do that?
You might think there is none. It's like what rule allows you to take a 3 on a hole when you made 4 strokes on the hole? The answer is none
and if you do that the penalty is DQ. But if you think about it, there is one rule which allows you to take a drop for a ball not found and
that is Rule 18.1 which says: "At any time a player may take Stroke and Distance relief..." So there IS a rule that allows you to substitute
a ball for your ball not found. Since this rule exists the player is NOT DISQUALIFIED. However, the player using Rule 18.1 should have returned to the tee to put
a new ball in play but when he played that dropped ball from a forward location two things happened:
1. He played from a WRONG PLACE and
2. The original ball was no longer "in play" and hence became a WRONG BALL.
Welcome to the forum tadabq!

I agree there were a number of inaccuracies in earlier posts. But Steven's post at #5 got it precisely right.

There are lots of words in your post but I appreciate you are offering broader explanation and I think it will be useful for many readers. I would, though, like to add two observations that relate to a couple of the issues you raise in the part of your post I have copied above.

You provided some intuitive explanation for the "why" of an S&D penalty, but I note the player had no intention of taking S&D here, rather, as the player proceeded under an inapplicable rule and was not aware of the position of the original ball at the time, the Committee allocates Rule 18.1 (S&D) to the process and this is the observation I wanted to add - it is a Committee action rather than player choice. I'm sure you are fully alert to this, but other readers may not be. And we have an official explanation of this process - for those so motivated, refer to Committee Procedures 6C(8), it is an incredibly important part of the Official Guide to the Rules (and is accessible in the app) and the fourth bullet point of this reference provides the official line on why S&D needs to be allocated. I also understand that the Ruling Bodies have a current workstream in place that will see the 6C(8) guidance reviewed and extended, for inclusion in the next (2027) reworking of the Rule book.

My other comment relates to your words above that are bolded. In fact, the original ball became a wrong ball the instant the substituted ball, when dropped, left the player's hand (rather than when the dropped ball was played). Prior to the dropped ball being played, it was possible for the player to correct their error without penalty (courtesy of Rule 14.5) but that possibility was lost when the player played the substituted ball.
 
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