Rules Debate: Which player would incur a penalty in this situation?

If a player is about to hit a putt with their partner looking at the line behind them, which player incurs the general penalty?

Matt Chivers's picture
Thu, 9 Sep 2021

Rules Debate: Which player would incur a penalty in this situation?

With the Ryder Cup approaching and the Solheim Cup having just passed, we thought it would be appropriate to clear up some rules quandaries on team golf.

In fourball matchplay in the past, I have been a victim of an incorrect ruling and it can have a costly effect on your match and so we want to help our readers to avoid this.

I am sure that we will see some contentious issues at Whistling Straits in a couple of weeks and this drama is just another element that makes the Ryder Cup so exciting. 

If you find yourself with a putt in a fourball match and your playing partner is stood behind you to help with your line, you need to make sure that you know what you can and can't do.

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Before you take your putt, your partner must move away from behind you as they can potentially act as an extended putting line, which is a breach of Rule 10.2b(4).

If you hit your ball and your partner is still stood there, then it would be you who incurs the general penalty and not your partner.

In order to avoid this rule breach, you just need to step away from your ball and reset your stance, and this is the same for when it is a caddy standing behind you and not a player.

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The player is seen as aiding their partner with their alignment and this is not allowed, so the player would need to reset before hitting their stroke.

Additionally, in the video, the caddie is stood on the intended putting line of the player, which is also an illegal rules breach. The caddie must move away before you hit your putt so they are not acting as a guide. 

 

 

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