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Following events at Augusta, where no less than the world’s No 1 found himself a little confused over the correct procedure taking a penalty drop from a water hazard, Rules expert Ashley Weller tees up a mini quiz designed to test your working knowledge – and delivers his own verdict on the handling of the Woods affair...

There are three sections: true or false, multiple choice and a bonus question worth 5 points. Give it a go and see how you measure up! Score 1 point for each correct answer in section 1, 2 for each correct answer in section 2 plus 5 if you answer the bonus question correctly.

SECTION 1: True or False?

Q1: A ball to be lifted under the Rules may only be lifted by the player himself. True or False?

Q2: A player may make a stroke at a ball moving in water in a water hazard.

True or false?

Q3: If a referee has been appointed by the committee, his decision is final.

True or false?

Q4: The player and his caddie are responsible for knowing the Rules.

True or false?

Q5: A player’s ball in motion after a stroke on the putting green is deflected by an outside agency. It is a rub of the green and the ball must be played as it lies.

True or false?

Q6: In avoiding standing on his fellowcompetitor’s line, a player inadvertently holes out with a stance astride his line of putt. He is penalised two strokes.

True or false?

Q7: In climbing down into a bunker to play his ball in stroke play the player stumbles and grounds his club in the bunker as he falls. He did not test the condition of the hazard, but incurs a penalty of two strokes.

True or false?

Q8: Snow is either casual water or a loose impediment, at the option of the player.

True or false?

Q9: If any point in dispute is not covered by the Rules, the decision should be made in accordance with equity.

True or false?

Q10: In foursomes match play, if a player plays when his partner should have played the partner must replay the stroke and the side must add a penalty of two strokes.

True or false?

SECTION 2: Multiple Choice

Q11: In stroke play, a player’s ball lies just outside a water hazard, but his intended area of swing is impeded by a loose detached branch that lies in the hazard. He moves the branch out of the way before playing his stroke. What is the penalty?

(a) No penalty

(b) 1 stroke

(c) 2 strokes

Q12: A player’s ball is resting against the flagstick. He pulls the flag out and the ball moves further away from the hole. What is the correct ruling?

(a) The ball should be replaced on the lip of the hole without penalty.

(b) The ball should be replaced on the lip of the hole and the player must add a penalty of one stroke.

(c) The ball should be played as it lies.

Q13: A player’s ball lies just off a wrong putting green, but he has to stand on the green if he is to play his shot. Which of the following is correct?

(a) The player may take relief, without penalty.

(b) The player must take relief, without penalty.

(c) The player may not take relief.

Q14: A player is taking his tee shot on the 13th hole. As he begins his downswing the ball falls off the tee but he continues with the stroke and strikes the ball. What is the ruling?

(a) The stroke must be replayed without penalty.

(b) The stroke counts and there is no penalty.

(c) The stroke counts and the player must add one penalty stroke.

Q15: In a Stableford competition a player arrives on the 1st tee 3 minutes after his start time. He tees off and catches up with his playing partners on the fairway, but in hurrying he plays the first hole badly and scores no points. Which of the following is correct?

(a) He is disqualified.

(b) 2 points are deducted from his total points for the round.

(c) He is penalised 2 shots on the first hole, so effectively no penalty as he had already ‘blobbed’ the hole.

SECTION 3: Bonus Question

(concentrate – it’s worth 5 points!)

A player’s ball lies against a board at the base of an out of bounds fence. He swings a club from the out of bounds side of the fence against the board, i.e. swings at the ball with the board intervening between the club and the ball.

The stroke moves the board which causes the ball to move away from the fence.

Which of the following is correct?

(a) The player is not allowed to stand out of bounds to make a stroke at a ball lying in bounds. He is penalised two strokes and must correct his mistake, otherwise he is disqualified.

(b) The player has not fairly struck at the ball and is penalised two strokes.

(c) The player has fairly struck at the ball, even though the board intervened between the club and the ball, therefore there is no penalty.


0-10 - Rule books are available at
11-15 - A bit of revision required!
16-20 - Single figure Rules handicap!
21-24 - Rules expert!
25 - Are you after my job?

And finally….

Tiger Woods and the drop on the 15th at Augusta

The dust has settled on the 2013 Masters, and Australia’s Adam Scott has finally ended his wait for his first major and also his country’s drought in the tournament. However, despite not ending his wait to add further to his major haul, Tiger Woods still threatened to hog the headlines following the bizarre events in the second round concerning the drop he took on the par-five 15th.

You are all probably familiar with the events on the day: Tiger drops in a wrong place, a viewer calls in and the following day Tiger is penalised 2 strokes. On the face of it, as Tiger had signed for a wrong score (6 instead of 8 on the 15th), surely he should have been disqualified, and the world’s press piled in, with some claiming double-standards following the slow play penalty dished out to the 14 yearold- Chinese amateur, Guan.

However, and despite my initial reaction, when the facts are considered it transpires that the penalty was correct, although massive speculation and incorrect Rules being quoted at the time confused the issue.

The important factor to consider is that a former Rules Official watched events on television live and sensed all was not well with the drop Tiger had taken. He called in and reported his concerns. While Tiger was still on the course the committee reviewed the TV pictures and decided there was no infringement and therefore no penalty. They did not inform Tiger of any of this at the time.

Only when Tiger made his comments in the press conference that he had dropped some two yards further back than he should have done did the committee decide that they should review their original decision, then deciding that Woods had, indeed, dropped in a wrong place. Therefore under the precedent of Decision 34-3/1 they were able to correct their previously incorrect ruling. As Woods was still on the course when they made their original decision, the correct decision would have been a two stroke penalty. If Woods had already returned his card the correct decision would have been disqualification. Therefore, it would have been unjust to disqualify him when, had they got their ruling right in the first place, they would have only imposed a two stroke penalty. Simple!


Scroll down for answers...














SECTION 1: 1. False (Rule 20-1); 2. True (Rule 14-6); 3. True (Rule 34-2); 4. True (Rule 6-1); 5. False (Rule 19- 1b); 6. False (Rule 16-1e); 7. False (Rule 13-4 Exception 1); 8. True (Definition); 9. True (Rule 1-4); 10. False (Rule 29-2);

SECTION 2: 11. Answer: A (Rule 23-1); 12. Answer: A (Rule 17-4); 13. Answer: C (Rule 25-3); 14. Answer: B (Rule 11-3); 15. Answer: B (Rule 32-1 Note 2)

SECTION 3: Answer: C (Decision 14-1/5)

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine


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