What happens when you find your ball, but don't know it?

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Published 21/01/2011 07:20:00
 

Steve and Paul are searching for their balls in the same area of the rough. After two minutes, Steve finds a ball, which he believes is Paul's, and resumes his search. After the five-minute search period elapses, it is discovered that the ball Steve found was in fact his own, not Paul's.

What is the ruling?

Steve's ball is considered to be "lost," and he must take a stroke-and-distance penalty and return to the spot of his previous stroke. (If he already has played a provisional ball, it becomes his ball in play.)

According to Rule 27, a ball is lost if 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. Once a ball has been found, the player has an opportunity to identify it as his. In this case, Steve had every chance to identify the ball as his within the five-minute period, and failed to do so. The only situation in which a player could escape a lost-ball penalty by identifying his ball after the five-minute period would be if somebody else found the ball within five minutes, but the player didn't have a chance to identify it until after the five minutes had elapsed.

Now What If?

What happens when you find your ball, but don't know it?

Steve and Paul are searching for their balls in the same area of the rough. After two minutes, Steve finds a ball, which he believes to be Paul's. The five-minute search period elapses without any more balls being found. Paul then plays the ball from the rough, but as he prepares for his next stroke, he realizes the ball he played was Steve's.

What is the ruling?

In match play, Paul loses the hole for playing a wrong ball. In stroke play, Paul is penalized two strokes for playing the wrong ball and must correct his mistake; both Paul and Steve must take stroke-and-distance penalties for lost balls.




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