Friday, February 23, 2018

Ask Linda #1706-Lift opponent’s ball in play (match play)

Hi Linda,
I had an unusual situation 2 weeks back. It is like this:
I used a Pro V with number two in red. I was not aware that one of my opponents was also using the same ball. We were on the green on the 2nd shot and as we approached the green, I headed for one of the balls, saw the number 2 in red, marked it and picked up the ball. My opponent did the same. But when he looked at the ball, he declared that it is not his. I had apparently mistaken his ball as mine. I anyway replaced my opponent's ball and proceeded to mark mine, picked it up and identified it as mine. I anyway birdied that hole but no one said anything then. A week later, someone mentioned that the opponent whose ball I wrongly marked and picked up actually wanted to penalise me for picking up his ball. I however contended that it was a genuine mistake and that I did not hole out with the birdie with his ball so it should not be an issue. They however argued that the act of marking and picking up a ball that it not mine is itself an infringement of the rules. I cannot find anywhere in the rulebook to support their claim. Hope you could shed some light on this claim, which I feel is unfounded. 
Kind regards,
Lou from Johore, Malaysia

Dear Lou,

Please read Rule 18-3b. You incurred a one-stroke penalty when you lifted your opponent’s ball in play, and your opponent incurred a one-stroke penalty when he lifted yours. Since the penalties are identical, there is no effect on the outcome of the hole.

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