Them's the rules...

Back in April, I wrote a blog about poor Lexi Thompson who had the ANA International ripped from her clasp and this week I've seen a couple more incredible happenings that all feature some jaw aching rules.

On the 3rd day of the Presidents Cup there was some more drama as the American team who had just won a hole, had it taken away from them for breaching the rules. Let me set the scene. The Americans have already holed out and are waiting for the International team, namely Louis Oosthuizen to putt for the half. Well he missed. And he didn't just miss by a bit - keen not to leave such a crucial shot short, the putt was downhill and travelling at some pace feet past the hole and was conceded by the International team. Jordan Speith who was waiting on the other side of the hole, received the nod from Louis Oosthuizen and then picked up and returned the ball to his competitor and this is where the fireworks began.....

....Oosthuizen's ball had not quite stopped moving.

According to Rule 1-2 of the Rules of Golf, "a player must not (i) take an action with the intent to influence the movement of a ball in play or (ii) alter physical conditions with the intent of affecting the playing of a hole." The penalty for the breach of this rule in match play is a loss of the hole.

Now, unlikely as it was that the ball may have suddenly accelerated, turned itself around and come back up the hill to drop in the hole is significantly less that zero, the fact remains the ball was still in motion.

Despite Speith's emotional argument for the rules official to see sense and even the International team agreeing they had conceded, the rule remains in place and the hole was awarded to the International side. This tale however has a happy ending as Reed and Speith went on to victory with a 2 and 1 win. Phew.

BUT THEN THIS HAPPENED......

Matthew Southgate who is battling for his PGA card had his efforts severely hampered by an act of god or in this case... a leaf. A leaf blew in to the picture, knocking his putt off course just enough to prevent his ball from actually sinking into the hole. Matthew was clearly very annoyed. However, he composed himself, gritted his teeth, tapped in the putt for the extra stroke and carried on his game.

According to Rule 19-1, if a player’s ball is in motion after a stroke on the green and deflected or stopped by an outside agency (a leaf certainly qualifies), the stroke is nullified and the ball must be replaced and replayed from its original spot. Matthew hadn't replaced his putt, he had tapped in thus incurring a 2 stroke penalty. And here is where his meets the Lexi Thimoson story, because he had tapped in and then continued, submitting his card incorrectly earned him another 2 stroke penalty.

4 extra stokes for a pesky Autumn leaf!

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