Rule of the Month: Cancellation Policy
By OGA Senior Rules Officials: Pete Scholz and Terry McEvilly
Click Here for the Rule of the Month Archive
Cancelling a Stroke
It doesn’t happen often, but there are times in the Rules when a stroke is cancelled and the player is required to play again from either the same or a corrected location. Usually, the player has been impacted negatively by an unfair occurrence or has gained a significant advantage by a breach of the Rules. Additionally, there are situations when a player may require an opponent in match play to cancel a stroke and replay. Regardless of why the stroke was cancelled, Rule 20-5 explains how the ball must be put into play and the Rule that is requiring the cancellation will dictate where the next stroke must be made from. By the way, the Rules never allow a player to cancel a stroke and replay simply because the result of the stroke was undesirable. Mulligans are not part of playing the game by the Rules.
This month we test your knowledge of cancelled strokes.
- After a stroke from the fairway, the ball rolls over the green and is deliberately stopped by a spectator. Because the ball was deliberately stopped, the player must cancel the stroke and replay.
- After a stroke from the putting green, the ball rolls past the hole and is stopped by another player. In stroke play, the player who stopped the ball incurs a two-stroke penalty and the player whose ball was stopped must cancel the stroke and replay.
- In match play, if a player plays out of order, the opponent may require the player to cancel the stroke and replay in proper order.
- If a ball breaks into two or more pieces as a result of a stroke, the player may substitute a new ball on the spot of the largest piece.
- If the Local Rule for power lines is in effect, the player may choose to cancel a stroke deflected by the power lines or may play the ball as it lies.
- In match play, if the player’s ball strikes his opponent’s golf bag after a stroke, the player may cancel the stroke and replay with no penalty.
- A stroke from the putting green must be cancelled if the ball is deflected or stopped by a moving outside agency such as a leaf blown by the wind.
- A stroke from anywhere, other than the putting green, is played as it lies if it was deflected by any moving outside agency, unless the deflection occurred on the putting green.
- If a player in match play makes a stroke from outside the teeing ground, he or she immediately incurs a loss of hole penalty.
- A player who fails to cancel a stroke and replay is disqualified in stroke play.
- False. Rule 19-1 covers when a ball is accidentally deflected or stopped by an outside agency (spectator). A note was added to this Rule a few years ago to assist the player when the ball has been deliberately deflected or stopped. In this situation, since the ball was played from the fairway, the player must drop the ball, as near as possible to the estimated place that it would have come to rest. See question #2 for further clarification.
- True. Because the stroke was from the putting green, the player is required by the Note in Rule 19-1 to cancel the stroke and replay. Where the deflection or stopping of the ball happened is irrelevant. Additionally, the player who stopped the moving ball has exerted influence on the movement of a ball in breach of Rule 1-2.
- True. In match play, the order of play is much more important than in stroke play. While there is no penalty for playing out of turn, the opponent may require the player to cancel the stroke and replay. You can bet that every perfect shot played out of turn will be recalled and every errant shot to be played as it lies. See Rule 10-1c.
- False. Under Rule 5-3, if a ball breaks into pieces as a result of a stroke, the stroke is cancelled and, without penalty, the player must play another ball from where the original ball was played.
- False. The player may not choose to play the ball as it lies. Under this Local Rule, the stroke must be cancelled and replayed. See Decision 33-8/13 for a full copy of the authorized Local Rule.
- True. This is one of the rare times in the Rules when a player has a choice about cancelling or playing the ball as it lies. Rule 19-3 provides the player, in match play only, with this opportunity. If the same situation occurs in stroke play, the player must play the ball as it lies with no penalty.
- True. Under Rule 19-1b, when the ball has been played from the putting green and is deflected or stopped by any live or moving outside agency, the stroke must be cancelled and replayed. However, there is an exception to this Rule. When the ball strikes the person authorized to attend the flagstick, the ball must be played as it lies. See Rule 17-3.
- False. It is not where the deflection occurs but rather where the stroke was made from that determines the cancellation. Rule 19-1 requires that a ball played from anywhere other than the putting green must be played as it lies if accidentally deflected. If the ball was purposely deflected, the note at the end of Rule 19-1 provides direction as to where the next stroke must be made.
- False. It is important to note that this pertains only to match play. When a player begins a hole from anywhere outside the teeing ground, the ball is in play unless the opponent requires the player to cancel the stroke and replay from inside the teeing ground. Rule 11-4a puts the opponent in the driver’s seat and may require the player to play the ball as it lies or cancel and replay. Fortunately, the player incurs no penalty.
- False. The player is subject to disqualification if the advantage of playing the original ball is significant. The ruling would be that the player has played from a wrong place and Rule 20-7 governs the action. Generally, a two-stroke penalty is incurred for failing to cancel and replay but, if the breach is serious, it must be corrected or the player is disqualified