Explanation for Proposed Rule Change
1. Ball in Motion Accidentally Deflected
Current Rule: If a player’s ball in motion is accidentally deflected, the outcome depends on what caused the deflection:
Ø If the ball hits the player or his or her equipment or caddie, the player gets a one-stroke penalty and the ball is played as it lies (with limited exceptions).
Ø If the ball hits an opponent or his or her equipment or caddie, there is no penalty but the player has a choice to play the ball as it lies or to cancel the stroke and play again.
Ø If the ball is deflected by any other person, animal or object, there is no penalty and the ball is played as it lies.
Proposed Rule: Under new Rule 11.1, for all accidental deflections, including when the ball hits the player or opponent or their equipment or caddies:
Ø There would be no penalty and the ball would be played as it lies (with limited exceptions).
Ø To address any concern that a player might deliberately position equipment to act as a backstop and potentially deflect his or her ball, there would be a penalty if the ball hits equipment that was positioned for that purpose (new Rule 11.2a).
Reasons for Change:
Ø Many objects, persons and animals are present on a golf course during play; it is inevitable that a ball in motion will sometimes hit them before coming to rest, and a player is generally required to accept the outcome (whether good or bad).
Ø Just as there is no penalty in stroke play if one player (or his or her equipment or caddie) accidentally deflects another player’s ball, there is no need for a penalty when a player (or the player’s equipment or caddie) accidentally deflects his or her own ball.
o Accidental deflections are, by definition, an accident – and this applies equally to players, caddies and equipment, which are necessarily close to the area of play.
o When a player’s ball hits the player or his or her equipment, it is usually the result of a poorly played shot or an unanticipated outcome, such as when a ball bounces off a bunker wall or a tree and hits the player, or when a chip shot rolls over a green and hits the player’s cart or golf bag.
o The outcome in such cases is random and unpredictable, and it results in a disadvantage for the player at least as often as it results in an advantage.
For the same reasons, there is no need to give the player the option to cancel and replay a stroke when