Placing & replacing

Issue date : 19-26 December 2008

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Question: After placing my ball on the fairway, I found a more suitable spot for it. Can a placed ball be picked up and replaced?
Answer: No, once a ball has been placed it is in play and may not be replaced.

Question: My ball and the ball of my opponent landed in the same heel-mark in a bunker. His ball was farther from the hole, so I lifted my ball to allow him to play his shot. In doing so, he obliterated the heel-mark. What was I supposed to do?
Answer: You were required to recreate your original lie as nearly as possible, including the heel-mark, and place your ball in that lie.

Question: On the fairway I placed my ball when I should have dropped it. Before I played my stroke, however, I realised my mistake. Was I permitted to lift the ball and proceed correctly without penalty?
Answer: Yes. But had you failed to do so, you would have lost the hole in match play or you would have incurred a penalty of two strokes in stroke play.

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Question: A fellow competitor dropped his ball twice under the rules and each time it rolled nearer the hole. He then dropped it a third time instead of placing it. What is the ruling?
Answer: He was required to place the ball before playing a stroke without penalty. If he’d failed to do so and played the ball, he would have incurred a penalty of loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play.

Question: During a stroke play match, I saw my opponent putting spin on a ball purposely when he dropped it. Is this allowed?
Answer: No, he incurred a penalty of one stroke, but if he’d corrected his mistake before playing the shot, there would have been no penalty. – George Nicholas
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