What are your views on this scenario?

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GG26

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Individual match play knockout today. All square standing on the 14th tee, a hole on which I am receiving a shot. Hit my drive way right and it’s in the middle of another fairway. I take an iron for my second, which should get me back on the correct fairway around 30 yards short of the green, but this requires me to clear a fairly large red staked area, which primarily long grass. The iron shot is well struck, but with slice. Looks to me that it’s going into the far end of the staked area and I do see it bounce on landing. My hope was that the long grass didn’t extend as far as I thought and I had cleared it. Walking up it is clear that it did extend as far as first feared and after a quick check beyond the hazard area “just in case” it was clear that it had not cleared it and started looking for the ball in the hazard with the OP.

Ball not found and so I said to the OP that I’m going back to a drop on the line that the balled crossed the hazard and the pin. This leaves me around 120 yards out and I hit a great iron which just rolled off the side of the green. I then hole the putt from off the green. A very unlikely up and down for a 5 (net 4). The OP misses his putt for a 4 and I win the hole, or so I thought.

The OP then says, we cannot be 100% sure that the ball ended up in the hazard and therefore it’s not correct that you took a drop where you did. You were initially looking beyond it so it may be there and I didn’t see it go in the hazard (basically he didn’t watch my shot!). I only looked beyond the hazard to rule out the remote possibility that it had cleared it - and it clearly was not visible on the open ground there.

I am certain that the ball was in the hazard and I suspect it only got brought up because the OP lost a hole he was expecting to win. Otherwise, why did he not say anything when I went back to drop a ball?

In the end we agreed to discuss the issue at the end of the round, although after I had won the next two holes (15 & 16) he then says he is certain that he is right and I lost the disputed one. I then won 17 as well to make the point academic.

Thoughts please?
 

Jason.H

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Strange he didn’t watch your shot. Anyway i guess it’s a lost ball and even you were not sure where it ended up. The fact you went looking beyond the hazard shows that. In a similar situation I would say I’m not sure if my ball carried the hazard therefore if it’s not just over can we assume its in the hazard? If he agree,s with that before the search starts there should be no challenging. Well done on the win I’m sure he’ll feel worse for challenging you over that incident. 👌
 
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As ever....the question is...is there any chance that the ball could be anywhere else but in the red staked hazard?

If the area outside the red staked hazard is very short grass/bare then the answer is probably no. But if there is any length at all to the grass, that might hide a ball, then you cannot assume that your ball is in the hazard.

However...looking outside the hazard and beyond it, cannot be considered an admission that the ball might be lost outside the hazard...all you are doing is effectively gathering "evidence" that supports the belief that the ball is known or virtually certain to be in the hazard.
 

Crow

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Sore loser!

If the area beyond the hazard didn't have any long grass where the ball might be nestling out of sight and the ball can't be seen beyond the hazard then it's clear that the ball is in the hazard, I'd say that you were correct.
 

rulefan

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If it is not known or virtually certain that the ball came to rest in a penalty area and the ball is lost, the player must take stroke-and-distance relief under Rule 18.2.


Known or Virtually Certain
The standard for deciding what happened to a player’s ball – for example, whether the ball came to rest in a penalty area, whether it moved or what caused it to move.

Known or virtually certain means more than just possible or probable. It means that either:

  • There is conclusive evidence that the event in question happened to the player’s ball, such as when the player or other witnesses saw it happen, or
  • Although there is a very small degree of doubt, all reasonably available information shows that it is at least 95% likely that the event in question happened.
“All reasonably available information” includes all information the player knows and all other information he or she can get with reasonable effort and without unreasonable delay.
 

jim8flog

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What surprises me in this is that having informed the opponent of your intentions he did not query it until after the shot was played and the hole completed.

On the assumption that the discussion took place with a reasonable time e.g before teeing off from the next tee the player is within his rights to request a ruling under Rule 20.1 b if the pair of you cannot agree it at the time. The ruling may involve both of you going back to where the incident occurred for a committee official to make a ruling.
 
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GG26

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If it is not known or virtually certain that the ball came to rest in a penalty area and the ball is lost, the player must take stroke-and-distance relief under Rule 18.2.


Known or Virtually Certain
The standard for deciding what happened to a player’s ball – for example, whether the ball came to rest in a penalty area, whether it moved or what caused it to move.

Known or virtually certain means more than just possible or probable. It means that either:

  • There is conclusive evidence that the event in question happened to the player’s ball, such as when the player or other witnesses saw it happen, or
  • Although there is a very small degree of doubt, all reasonably available information shows that it is at least 95% likely that the event in question happened.
“All reasonably available information” includes all information the player knows and all other information he or she can get with reasonable effort and without unreasonable delay.
That’s very helpful thanks.

In my scenario, it would have been hard to argue 100% certainty, but “all reasonable available information” to give 95% I would certainly have been happy to argue that.

As mentioned, my main gripe was that he didn’t say anything until the hole was complete. As he didn’t say anything when I told him what I was going to do, I took this as tacit acceptance.
 

Voyager EMH

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In that situation, whether it be strokeplay or matchplay, I make the statement, "I have more than 95% certainty that the ball is lost in the penalty area."

If others do not have 95% certainty, then this does not alter my degree of certainty. The decision is one that I, as the player, must make.

If others object, they have a course of action that is available, but arguing with me at the time is futile.

The committee may take a view that is different from mine.
But that still does not alter my perception that I had 95% certainty that the ball was lost in the penalty area and that I proceeded accordingly.

There will be times, of course, that I have more than 5% doubt, that my ball is lost in a penalty area and I will then proceed accordingly.
 

clubchamp98

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You say you saw it bounce.
If the long grass extended to the whole of the PA would it bounce high enough for you to see it.?

He should have spoken up as soon as you announced your intention to drop online under penalty.

He really should be watching your shots for his own game / decisions and just good etiquette.
But 95% certain ? Think you would have to be there
 

wjemather

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It seems clear that there was a reasonable chance of your ball being outside the penalty area, so it was not known or virtually certain it was in the penalty area - it's not unreasonable to think your certainty increased significantly once it was not immediately found outside, but unless it's fairly closely mown without anywhere for a ball to hide that isn't really enough. As such, your ball was lost, and you should then have proceeded under stroke and distance.

While it may be good form, your opponent is under no obligation to watch your ball, or prevent you from breaking a rule, although drawing it to your attention in advance would prevent having a (likely more antagonistic) disagreement after the event.
 

KenL

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It is not always easy to see other people's shots, especially if you are not standing behind where they were hit from.

For me, penalty areas should be defined so there is no confusion about whether a ball is in the PA or not. For example, why define the edge of a PA in the middle of long grass? Grass should be cut short to the edge of the PA.
 

IanMcC

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The fact that you said the staked area was 'primarily long grass', coupled with the fact that you 'saw it bounce on landing', clearly states to me that there is more than 5% chance that the ball is lost outside the PA. I think he should have challenged you before the hole was complete. If you had told him you saw it bounce then surely it is a lost ball outside the PA.
 

rulie

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I think that the people on the scene have a better understanding of the situation than anyone else here. It's fine to provide guidance about the Rule(s), opinions on the situation are just that - they're not rulings.
It was match play, the player has a right to proceed as he or she understands the situation. If the opponent disagrees, he or she can make a request for a ruling. If that is done in time (in this case, before anyone makes a stroke at the next hole), the Committee will rule as required.
Seems that we just had a discussion on KVC for penalty area -
https://forums.golfmonthly.com/thre...virtually-certain-and-stroke-distance.112360/
 
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Orikoru

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Surely if he watched you take the drop in the location you did and doesn't say anything, then he agrees with the decision and he can't go back and change his mind at the end of the hole just because he lost it! He was just bitter because he thought he would win the hole no matter where you dropped it but that didn't turn out to be the case. Sour grapes.

If you want to dispute a ruling and where someone drops, in a match, I'd have thought you do it at the time or not at all.
 
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