Not all golf rules make sense

2008-10-08 00:00

Most rules of golf are common sense, but there are some exceptions, and some interesting rulings have been given by officials during tournaments.

The U.S. professional Mark Brooks was playing in a PGA tournament in his home country and had marked his ball on the green. He threw the ball to his caddy to clean it but the caddy missed the ball and it rolled off the green into a water hazard. Mark removed his shoes and socks, rolled up his trousers and waded into the water to find his ball. He found nine balls but not one of them was his. Mark’s ball was not lost, because he had marked it on the green. But his ball couldn’t be played because it was somewhere in the water. After the allowed five minutes had lapsed, Mark declared the ball lost. An official called a two-stroke penalty on Mark, citing the rule that a player must finish the hole with the same ball with which he started the hole.

A similar occurrence happened with Ian Poulter in a European tour event. He putted about two metres past the hole. Irritated with his bold putt, he marked the ball and picked it up with a snatching motion. He wasn’t holding the ball properly and inadvertently propelled it into a water hazard next to the green. Ian sent his caddie into the water and after finding five or six balls, he found the right ball, so no penalty was incurred.

The two incidents are so similar — so what’s so wrong with finishing the hole with a different ball? In both instances, the balls were marked and there is certainly no unfair advantage in using another ball. This is one of those times when common sense tells you one thing and the rules state something else.

Last weekend’s results:

On Saturday at Victoria Country Club, the senior golfers of the city played for the Maritzburg Closed Senior trophy. It was played as an individual Stableford competition sponsored by The Bedstore. The winner was Peter Todd with 40 points. Gavin Mason was second with 36 points. Third on a count-out was Phil Muller on 35 points.

On Saturday afternoon, Maritzburg Golf Club held a four ball better ball Stableford competition. The winners were Deon de Roubaix and Benny Steyn on 45 points. Second place went to Telf Plenderleith and Shakey Norman on 43 points on a count-out from Goofy Griffiths and Grumpy Furmage, who came third.

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