Tony and Joe are playing a course that is wet and muddy. Both have played their second shots to just short of the green. Joe is away by a few centimetres. Tony, thinking his ball will interfere with Joe’s play, marks, lifts and puts it in his pocket so he can hold an umbrella and his clubs. After Joe plays, Tony goes to replace his ball and finds that Joe has left a divot where his ball marker had been. Tony then drops his ball as close as possible to its original position, not nearer the hole, chips onto the putting green and two putts. `What is Tony’s score for the hole?
a). Tony is not permitted to lift his ball because he thinks it might interfere with Joe’s play (Rule 22) so he incurs a penalty stroke for lifting his ball when it was not permitted (Rule 18-2a) but there is no additional penalty under Rule 22 so he incurs no penalty for putting the ball in his pocket. But when he failed to replace the ball according to Rule 20-3b (after Joe altered Tony’s lie) he incurred the general penalty under Rule 18. Therefore 5 strokes played plus 2 penalty strokes equals a score of 7.
NB If Joe had requested Tony to lift his ball because of interference (Rule 22-2) that would have been OK but Tony would then have been penalised for cleaning the ball when he put it in his pocket. (In that situation you lift and hold the ball between fore-finger and thumb until it is replaced).
This golf rules quiz item supplied by Cliff Nunn, a VGA state acredited rules official and proprietor of Golf Clubs Down Under.