4. Caddie Lifting Ball on the Putting Green

: A player’s caddie has no general authority to mark, lift and replace the player’s

ball on the putting green:

 

Ø  A caddie is treated the same as any other person for these purposes: the caddie may mark and lift the ball only if authorised by the player, and the caddie may replace the ball only if he or she was the one who had lifted or moved it; and 

 

Ø  This authorisation must be given each time the player wants the caddie to lift the ball. 

 

Proposed Rule: Under new Rule 14.1:

 

Ø  The player’s caddie would be allowed to mark and lift the player’s ball on the putting green any time the player is allowed to do so, without needing authorisation.

 

Ø  The caddie would continue to be allowed to replace the player’s ball only if the caddie was the one who had lifted or moved the ball.

 

Reasons for Change

 

Ø  There is no compelling reason to prohibit a caddie from performing these purely mechanical acts when the player’s ball is on the putting green:

 

o   A player is already free to mark, lift, clean and replace a ball on the putting green at any time (except when another ball is in motion), and thus this happens routinely.

 

o   The elimination of the penalty for a player who accidentally causes his or her ball to move on the putting green would eliminate any risk that allowing a caddie to mark, lift and replace the ball would result in unforeseen consequences to the player. 

 

Ø  In many places, it is common practice for caddies to mark, lift, clean and replace the player’s ball when it first comes to rest on the putting green without authorisation from the player, even though this is not permitted under the current Rules.

 

o   In some areas of the world, this is a cultural expectation relating the role of a caddie.

 

o   In other places, this is done to help with pace of play - for example, where a caddie is shared by two players, the caddie may mark, lift, clean and replace one player’s ball (so that he or she can be ready to play) before going to help the other player.

 

Ø  This change would also benefit players who have physical limitations that make it difficult to bend down to mark and lift the ball, without needing to give the caddie specific permission each and every time.

 

Ø  Giving the caddie this authority is consistent with the limited role of a caddie:

 

o   Any player who prefers not to have the caddie mark and lift the ball would simply be able to tell the caddie not to do so.

 

o   A caddie would still be prohibited from making strategic choices for the player, such as deciding to take relief under a Rule, deciding where to drop a ball, etc.

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