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  1. #1

    Abandoning ball in play

    In a friendly fourball one player hit his drive into a seemingly innocuous area of rough. On arriving at the spot it was obvious that the ball was not going to be easily found. After a couple of minutes the player decided to return to the tee and play another ball but asked the other three to keep looking and, if they found his ball, to shout and he would return and play it. This is what happened within the 5 minutes allowed and before he hit the new ball and he continued with his original ball. After the game the question was raised as to whether this was permissible under the rules. One opinion was that by, in effect, abandoning the ball he could no longer play it. The other feeling was that as the ball had not been 'lost' by any of the definitions then not only could he continue to play it but must play it. Comments?

  2. #2
    Global Moderator brendy's Avatar
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    Re: Abandoning ball in play

    He can't declare it lost, as long as the ball is found inside the time and he hasn't returned to the tee and actually hit the new ball he should be fine.
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  3. #3
    Head Pro LincolnShep's Avatar
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    Re: Abandoning ball in play

    Continuing play with the original ball was correct.

    You can't "abandon" a ball any more than you can "declare" one lost. These terms aren't in the rules. A ball is lost if it is not found within five minutes, or another ball is put into play. It's not what you say, it's what you do.

  4. #4
    Money List Winner pauldj42's Avatar
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    Re: Abandoning ball in play

    Just to expand and clarify this one please, if he had returned to the tee (over a particular distance) and had hit another ball, is it correct that this becomes the ball in play (and hes played 3) regardless of whether the original ball is found within 5 minutes.
    Sorry for any confusion.

  5. #5
    Major Champion SwingsitlikeHogan's Avatar
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    Re: Abandoning ball in play

    I would say yes. In the scenario described he is too far from the tee to go back and play a provisional - so any ball he now hits from the tee is the ball in play and the original ball is 'dead' - whether or not it is found within 5mins of it originally being hit.
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    Global Moderator brendy's Avatar
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    Re: Abandoning ball in play

    Yup, the moment he hits the new ball, he has placed this ball in play.
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  7. #7
    Money List Winner pauldj42's Avatar
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    Re: Abandoning ball in play

    Cheers

  8. #8
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    Re: Abandoning ball in play

    A few bits ...

    If the player thinks the ball will not be found he can go back to play another under stroke & distance - his companions can keep looking while goes back.

    If the ball is found - and it was less than five minutes from the start of the search and provided he has not put another ball in play - then he can still play the original. Worth noting that if the player is going back to play "3 off the tee", then the new ball is not in play until he has made a stroke at it. But if it is going back to play "4 (or more) off the fairway", then its in play as soon as he drops it. If he does put a ball in play and the ball is then found within the 5 mins, then tough.

    Also, if the ball is found in time, he doesn't have to play it - he can still drop another at the place where last played and continue under stroke & distance. (Depending on the circumstances, it may be a good move, or maybe not )
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  9. #9

    Re: Abandoning ball in play

    Thanks for all the information - that was the majority view. However it is not unknown for a golfer to hit a ball into deep trouble and say "I declare that lost and will hit another" which is of course putting another ball into play but might account for belief that it can be done at other times. Interestingly (?) a bit of research shows that up until 1964 a player could declare his ball lost but this option was removed in a rules update. I wonder why?

  10. #10
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    Re: Abandoning ball in play

    Quote Originally Posted by berniethebolt View Post
    Thanks for all the information - that was the majority view. However it is not unknown for a golfer to hit a ball into deep trouble and say "I declare that lost and will hit another" which is of course putting another ball into play but might account for belief that it can be done at other times. Interestingly (?) a bit of research shows that up until 1964 a player could declare his ball lost but this option was removed in a rules update. I wonder why?
    If you look at the associated changes to rule 30 you will realise why.

    Previously you were able to elect which ball to continue with when you had played a provisional. 1964 saw a rationalisation of such elections and associated options (it also saw a split between the R&A and USGA rules that took decades to be fully reversed....)

    Hope this is of interest.
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