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Declaring a lost ball

 
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JDerion
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Declaring a lost ball
« on: March 14, 2009, 02:09:13 PM »

Is it against the rules or even the spirit of the game to do the following:

You hit a shot that appears to go into the border of some very thick woods, in bounds. You declare that you will play a provisional shot and you do, hitting a shot that is in play and closer to the hole than the original ball is likely to be. You walk over to the treeline and scan the area along the trees where you would WANT to find the ball, because if it was found there it would be playable. Once you do not see the ball in a good spot (you have not seen the ball at all, but were only looking in good spots) you walk over and hit your provisional ball before the five minutes has expired, making the provisional ball the ball that is in play.

In my mind this boils down to a few rules and even ethical questions:

1. Is the 5 minute search mandatory?

2. Are we in any way obligated to actually look for a ball that is lost? Is a player who goes through the motions of looking, for the purpose of NOT finding the ball, an unethical player?

3. Even in casual rounds when looking for a ball that is in a potentially bad place, I always look in places where I'd want the ball to be. I don't go hunting in unplayable areas...unless I duffed my provisional in which case I'd want to find it and then declare it unplayable so I can retee. Problem?

4. I asked about abandoning the search and hitting the provisional, before the five minutes has expired, to avoid having a partner, caddy, or fellow competitor find the original ball since my expectation is that the original ball is in an unplayable location and I like my provisional shot.


Obviously, I'm trying to do damage control on a bad shot and work the rules in my favor. Do I have to wait five minutes to hit the provisional ball? If not, am I acting against the rules or spirit of the rules to basically move with haste to hit that provisional so that the original ball is officially no longer in play?
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MFAWG
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Re: Declaring a lost ball
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2009, 05:29:20 PM »

Unfortunately, this will have to wait until Monday.  I seem to have left my suspenders at the office... Devil
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Uisce Beatha
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Re: Declaring a lost ball
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2009, 05:50:39 PM »

1.  Not at all.

2.  Nope.  In my opinion, not in the slightest.

3.  No problem.  And you don't have to find a ball to declare it unplayable.  Unless it is in a water hazard you can declare a ball unplayable at any time. Under the rules you can declare a ball sitting one inch from the hole unplayable. 

4.  The ball isn't lost when you abandon the search.  The ball is lost when...

Quote
a. It is not found or identified as his by the player within five minutes after the player's side or his or their caddies have begun to search for it; or

b. The player has made a stroke at a provisional ball from the place where the original ball is likely to be or from a point nearer the hole than that place (see Rule 27-2b); or

c. The player has put another ball into play under penalty of stroke and distance (see Rule 27-1a); or

d. The player has put another ball into play because it is known or virtually certain that the ball, which has not been found, has been moved by an outside agency (see Rule 18-1), is in an obstruction (see Rule 24-3), is in an abnormal ground condition (see Rule 25-1c) or is in a water hazard (see Rule 26-1); or

e. The player has made a stroke at a substituted ball.

I know conventional wisdom says you should always help someone look for their ball.  I often don't want help.  Drives me nuts when I have a provisional in a perfect spot and I want to do as you've suggested and look for the first ball but only in places I wouldn't mind being and then some do-gooder finds my ball stuck in an unplayable lie or hazard. 

I think you're fine with everything you presented JD.  It's pretty much standard ops in our matches.

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Re: Declaring a lost ball
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2009, 07:45:39 AM »

I remember this exact scenario happening to Mickelson on 17 at Torrey in a playoff. 

Hit bad.  Hit provisional shot good.  Didn't want original ball found, or even looked for, but some do-gooder ass clown did.  I believe he took the drop, but went on to eventually win.

Or something like that.
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