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Know Or Virtually Certain


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#1 Free Drop

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Posted 26 November 2020 - 01:43 PM

On our course we have a real problem with Crows picking up balls from around the green on one particular par 4 hole. There have been at least a dozen players who have lost a ball here in the last couple of weeks.

Today, a player plays a good second shot of about 120 metres from the centre of the fairway and saw it land just short and slightly to the right of the green on this particular problem hole. As he walks up to the hole he can see his orange ball about a metre off the green. The ball is clearly visible with a good lie and is stationery.

When he is about 80 metres from the green with his ball still in view, he turns and waits and watches his 3 fellow players play their respective shots. When eventually he turns back, his ball has disappeared. He claims that although he did not see a crow pick up his ball, given the problem of crows on this hole this must be what happened. (There was one crow in the vicinity)  He placed a ball on that spot and completed the hole.

 

In the club house after I agreed with the player but many didn’t.

How would you have ruled?

 



#2 languid

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Posted 26 November 2020 - 04:19 PM

On our course we have a real problem with Crows picking up balls from around the green on one particular par 4 hole. There have been at least a dozen players who have lost a ball here in the last couple of weeks.

Today, a player plays a good second shot of about 120 metres from the centre of the fairway and saw it land just short and slightly to the right of the green on this particular problem hole. As he walks up to the hole he can see his orange ball about a metre off the green. The ball is clearly visible with a good lie and is stationery.

When he is about 80 metres from the green with his ball still in view, he turns and waits and watches his 3 fellow players play their respective shots. When eventually he turns back, his ball has disappeared. He claims that although he did not see a crow pick up his ball, given the problem of crows on this hole this must be what happened. (There was one crow in the vicinity)  He placed a ball on that spot and completed the hole.

 

In the club house after I agreed with the player but many didn’t.

How would you have ruled?

From the description of the circumstance it seems he played ready golf. Others played after him. 

The player is clear what he saw. Possibly the player is the only peson who saw the ball come to rest.   Apparently the others didn't see his ball come to rest.  Maybe they saw something relevant watching his stroke. 

 

On his evidence the ball was moved by an Outside Influence most likely a crow. 

The Committee would ask others what they saw, if anything. 

The other option is the ball was moved by natural forces.

If it was possible to roll down a slope that has to be considered. If it did what are the prospects of seeing the ball?  

 

The Rule 

9.6
Ball Lifted or Moved by Outside Influence
If it is known or virtually certain that an outside influence (including another player in stroke play or another ball) lifted or moved a player’s ball:
 
There is no penalty, and
The ball must be replaced on its original spot (which if not known must be estimated) (see Rule 14.2).
This applies whether or not the player’s ball has been found.
But if it is not known or virtually certain that the ball was lifted or moved by an outside influence and the ball is lost, the player must take stroke-and-distance relief under Rule 18.2.
 
In this case it is not Known.  Is it at least 95% Certain it was moved by an Outside Influence? 
 It is a matter of gathering all the evidence. Seeing a crow in the vicinity is support for the player's action/claim.
The Committee gets guidance by  referring to Committee Procedures 6C (7) 
here is a link 
 
 
 It begins 
 
How to Resolve Questions of Fact
Resolving questions of fact is among the most difficult actions required of a referee or the Committee.
 
Further on 
 
Testimony of the players involved is important and should be given due consideration.
In some situations where the facts are not decisive, the doubt should be resolved in favour of the player whose ball is involved.
In others, the doubt should be resolved against the player whose ball is involved.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


#3 Free Drop

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Posted 26 November 2020 - 06:22 PM

Thanks Languid,
This was a social game between a dozen players. No referee and no committee other than the 12 players.
The 3 other players made comment of the great shot and expected to see the orange ball just short of the green. They didn’t see a crow but did say that they heard it’s caws. The area where the orange ball play lay was very flat and it was sitting on healthy grass. There is no way it could have been moved by gravity or natural forces.
Obviously the player should have played 2 balls and let the committee work it out, but as I said it was only a social game with no posting of scores.
The player has recently passed the level 2 R&A examine and may have been trying the others on. It certainly generated some discussion, with some diving into their rule book to try and prove us wrong.

#4 ColinCL

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Posted 26 November 2020 - 06:30 PM

Assemble the known  facts:

 

Crows are known to be nicking golf balls.

The player saw his ball land and come to rest and so no doubt about identifying the ball as his,

He could still see it from 80 metres away.

Some moments later the ball had gone.

There was a crow in the vicinity (but not apparently with the ball),

There has to be a reason for a ball that was in plain sight like that to have disappeared.

 

I would ask the players if there could be any way in which the ball could have disappeared.  If there wasn't, then the player was justified in what he did.

 

I'm curious as to the reasons put forward for not accepting by those  in the clubhouse  who disagreed.


Edited by ColinCL, 26 November 2020 - 06:33 PM.


#5 Free Drop

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Posted 26 November 2020 - 06:44 PM

Hi Colin, thank you for your comments. I have followed you on some other sites and your comments are always so clear and succinct.
I believe that ignorance and a lack of interest in learning the 2019 rules is the problem.
Our club has a very casual approach to the rules and I find that so frustrating.
Cheers

#6 languid

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Posted 26 November 2020 - 08:44 PM

Free Drop,
With respect I don’t think the player should have played two balls. He was quite certain about the Rules and his situation.
To do so would require stroke and distance and reporting to the Committee. It would also imply he was uncertain about his belief he saw his ball at rest near the green.

#7 ColinCL

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Posted 26 November 2020 - 11:31 PM

 

I would ask the players if there could be any way in which the ball could have disappeared.  If there wasn't, then the player was justified in what he did.

 Sorry that should have read,  I would ask the players if there could be any other way in which the ball could have disappeared.

 

Missing out vital words isn't succinct, just careless.  :blush:


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