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 Why Rory McIlroy penalized two strokes

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Slicer51
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PostSubject: Why Rory McIlroy penalized two strokes   Thu May 31, 2012 12:50 pm

(copy & paste)

Why was Rory McIlroy penalized two strokes at the Abu Dhabi Championship for brushing away and removing sand in his line of play?

During the second round of this year’s Abu Dhabi Championship, Rory McIlroy, the 2011 U.S. Open champion and now the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, was penalized two strokes for brushing away and removing sand on his line of play. The incident was astutely noticed by fellow-competitor Luke Donald, who appropriately pointed out the infraction, protecting the field and perhaps preventing McIlroy from signing for a wrong score and being disqualified.

One of the great principles of the Rules of Golf is to play the course as you find it. Sand and soil are part of the ground over which the game of golf is played, and the player must normally accept the ground on which his ball lies. However, the putting green is a special place on the course where certain specific Rules apply. This is borne out by the fact that the putting green has its own Rule (16), and by looking more closely at other Rules.

According to Rule 13-2, there are certain areas the player cannot improve or allow to be improved, those being 1) the position or lie of his ball; 2) his area of intended stance or swing; 3) his line of play or reasonable extension of that line beyond the hole; and 4) the area in which he is to drop or place a ball.

This Rule prohibits certain actions in relation to these areas, including removing or pressing down sand, loose soil, replaced divots or other cut turf placed in position. This may lead you to ask, “I thought I was allowed to remove sand, loose soil, leaves, grass clippings, and other such items from my line on the putting green?”

In fact, this is correct. The last bullet point in Rule 13-2 provides that if sand or loose soil is removed from the putting green, the player does not incur a penalty. This is the case, regardless of whether the ball lies on or off the putting green. Additionally, the Rule fits nicely with the definition of loose impediments, which says that while natural objects are loose impediments when lying anywhere, sand and loose soil are only loose impediments when they lie on the putting green.

Rule 23-1 allows the player to remove any loose impediment when his ball lies through the green, but since sand is not a loose impediment off the putting green, it cannot be removed when it lies off the putting green if doing so improves any of the areas mentioned in Rule 13-2. Because McIlroy gained a potential advantage by removing the sand off the putting green, he was in breach of Rule 13-2.
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Slicer51
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PostSubject: Re: Why Rory McIlroy penalized two strokes   Thu May 31, 2012 12:55 pm

one more ...

Why was Kevin Na allowed to play from the cart path on the 18th hole in Sunday's final round of The Players Championship?

During the final round of The Players Championship, Kevin Na’s tee shot came to rest on an awkward slope just to the right of the cart path that runs along the right side of the fairway. When he took his stance to simulate his next stroke, his feet were on the cart path, so he was entitled to relief from the cart path under Rule 24-2 – Obstructions; Immovable Obstruction.

Many people have questioned why he was allowed to play the ball from the cart path when it appeared he was taking relief from it. In reality, he didn’t take relief from the cart path.

As it turned out, his ball had come to rest in an area that had been damaged during the week. Na consulted with a PGA Tour official who determined that the area of damage was ground under repair. He was entitled to relief from the ground under repair under Rule 25-1 – Abnormal Ground Conditions; Relief.

Decision 25-1b/11.5 states that when a player has interference from two separate conditions (in Na’s case a cart path and ground under repair) and he desires relief, he must choose one of them from which to first take relief. If he still had interference from the other condition after taking relief from the first condition, he would then be entitled to take relief from it or play the ball as it lay. Na was entitled to choose which condition he wanted to take relief from first. Since taking relief from the cart path would have put his ball higher on the slope next to the path in an even more awkward position, he chose to take relief from the ground under repair first.

His nearest point of relief was behind the area of ground under repair. After measuring the one club-length dropping area from the nearest point of relief that was not nearer the hole, he chose to drop his ball on the cart path. After doing so, the ball came to rest on the cart path in a position that did not require it to be re-dropped.

At this point, Na could have chosen to take relief from the cart path. Feeling that the lie he would have gotten after taking relief would not have been as good as the one he had on the path, he chose to play the ball from the path and hit a wonderful shot to the 18th green.

Na did take complete relief from the condition he chose, which was the Abnormal Ground Condition and then chose not to take relief from the cart path from which he was also entitled to take relief.

Knowing the Rules can help you make the best decisions for your game.
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