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  1. #1
    Golf Canada Rules Official L4 BC MIST is on a distinguished road
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    Venturi/Palmer Rules Incident

    Arnold Palmer wrote a piece for Golf Channel that included the following description of a rules incident that happened involving Ken Venturi and himself in the 1958 Masters. It was also referred to on Sirius radio this morning.

    Ken and I will likely forever be linked by a rules decision invoked while playing in the final round of the 1958 Masters. On the 12th hole, I hit a 6-iron off the tee and my ball plugged into its own pitch mark on the back fringe of the green. The ground was wet and soft, and a local rule providing relief from an embedded ball was in effect all week. I was leading by a shot, and just to be safe I called over the rules official, the late Arthur Lacey. I proposed that I could lift, clean and drop my ball without penalty to a spot as close as possible to the original position and no nearer the hole (a stance with which Ken agreed), but Lacey disagreed, saying I had to play the embedded ball. I knew I was right, but I wasn't in much of a position to argue. Finally, I said, “I'm going to play two balls and appeal to the tournament committee.” I knew I had that option under Rule 3-3a.

    Lacey objected, saying, “No sir, you cannot do that either.”

    I told him, “Well, that's exactly what I'm doing.”

    I played the original ball as it lay for a 5 and then announced that I was about to play a second ball. I dropped to a clean lie and made par. Ken objected, saying that I was required to announce to him that I was going to play two balls before I played the original. The officials on site at the Masters reviewed the case, agreed with me, and I won my first Masters by a shot.

    IYO, was the correct decision made?

  2. #2
    Shotmaker bNeill is on a distinguished road bNeill's Avatar
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    He should have to take the 5, right?

  3. #3
    Hybrid jimmyc is on a distinguished road
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    If Tiger did that people would be calling for him to stop golfing forever since he is a cheat!.

    My take is not a golf rules one but a sports one. Once an official makes a decision, it should have to be lived by. Period. Right or wrong.

  4. #4
    England Golf Referee AAA is on a distinguished road
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    Although 34-2 says a Referee's decision is final, it is not clear if Lacey was a Referee as defined in the Rules of the time. Previously Referees were appointed to accompany the players but was Lacey simply a roving rules official?
    Note that decisions under 34-2 virtually all refer specifically to matches.

  5. #5
    Practice Pig ironmaster15213 is on a distinguished road ironmaster15213's Avatar
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    I'm not an expert here but the way I see it Arnie was wrong because he didn't inform Ken of his intentions, or at least a fellow marker if there was one. Telling the official wasn't enough in my eyes, He should have told Ken what he was going to do and leave the judgement of right or wrong decision to the committee before handing in his signed card. Just my opinion.

  6. #6
    Golf Canada Rules Official L4 BC MIST is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyc View Post
    If Tiger did that people would be calling for him to stop golfing forever since he is a cheat!.

    My take is not a golf rules one but a sports one. Once an official makes a decision, it should have to be lived by. Period. Right or wrong.
    Not so in golf. Referees may or may not be authorized to make final decisions. If not, the player has the right to ask for a second opinion from another referee. If yes, then the referee may allow the player to get a second opinion, or, if he exercises his authority, the ruling he makes IS final. If the ruling the referee gives is final and the player goes ahead and plays a second ball, he is penalized two strokes under 6-7 for undue delay. See Decision 3-3/2.

  7. #7
    England Golf Referee AAA is on a distinguished road
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    Dec 3-3/2 was introduced following this incident in order to make it quite clear that the player cannot play a second ball when he has got a ruling from an authorised referee, unless the conditions lay down by that decision are met.
    In addition, the LR referred to has been replaced by 25-2.
    Last edited by AAA; 12-31-2013 at 05:03 AM.

  8. #8
    Golf Canada Rules Official L4 LobWedge is on a distinguished road LobWedge's Avatar
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    It's a trick question. Balls don't plug at the Masters.
    When applying the Rules, you follow them line by line. You don't read between them.

  9. #9
    England Golf Referee AAA is on a distinguished road
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    Just to clarify, Lacey was a Committee member and had not got that authority.

  10. #10
    Golf Canada Rules Official L4 BC MIST is on a distinguished road
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    The proper procedure under 3-3a is to inform your fellow competitor that you are going to play a second ball AND state with which ball you wish to score, if the rules allow. This must be done BEFORE the player takes further action The player MUST also get a ruling even if the scores with both balls are the same. Not doing this results in disqualification.

    Palmer played the original ball and then announced that he was going to play a second ball. Since he took further action before making the announcement, the score with the original ball should have counted. However, since he discussed playing a second ball with the referee before he played the original, would this not bypass the need to inform Venturi about what he was going to do?

  11. #11
    England Golf Referee AAA is on a distinguished road
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    He made the statement before he played.
    In his book 'Playing by the Rules' AP wrote 'Finally I said, "I'm going to play two balls and appeal to the tournament committee." I knew I had that option under rule 3-3a.'

    Lacey said "No, sir, you cannot do that either."
    "Well," I said, "that's exactly what I'm doing."
    In accordance with Rule 3-3a as I knew it, I played the Ball, the embedded ball still buried in its pitch mark, ..........

    I assume that, as this was part of a long interchange with the official, his FC heard his statement.
    He makes no mention of which ball he elected to count but the committee chairman and others in green jackets took him to one side on the 15th fairway and said. "Mr. Palmer, the committee has ruled in your favor. Your will have a three at the twelfth hole."
    Given all the circumstances, I can't believe he hadn't followed the procedure correctly.

  12. #12
    Golf Canada Rules Official L4 LobWedge is on a distinguished road LobWedge's Avatar
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    We need to remember that this situation occurred in 1958.

    In the 1956-1960 code, Rule 11-5 (today's 3-3) clearly states that "Before playing a stroke with either ball, the competitor must announce to his marker his intention to proceed under this Rule and must announce which ball he wants to score with if the Rules permit."

    The definition of Marker (in both 1958 and today) includes the phrase "He is not a referee".

    Because Palmer did not announce to Venturi his intention to invoke 11-5 before proceeding with the original ball, and regardless of any instruction given by Mr. Lacey, Mr. Palmer's score for the hole should have been 5.
    When applying the Rules, you follow them line by line. You don't read between them.

  13. #13
    England Golf Referee AAA is on a distinguished road
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    What makes you say Palmer didn't announce to his marker?

    In addition 3-3/6.5 implies that a failure to announce may not prohibit using 3-3.
    Incidentally, a failure to specify the scoring ball defaulted to the second ball played.

  14. #14
    Golf Canada Rules Official L4 LobWedge is on a distinguished road LobWedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AAA View Post
    What makes you say Palmer didn't announce to his marker?
    Palmer - "I played the original ball as it lay for a 5 and then announced that I was about to play a second ball."

    Quote Originally Posted by AAA View Post
    In addition 3-3/6.5 implies that a failure to announce may not prohibit using 3-3.
    That decision wasn't around in 1958.

    Quote Originally Posted by AAA View Post
    Incidentally, a failure to specify the scoring ball defaulted to the second ball played.
    He had already made a stroke at the first ball (and holed out with it) before he put the second one in to play. Therefore, the rules did not permit the second ball to count.
    When applying the Rules, you follow them line by line. You don't read between them.

  15. #15
    England Golf Referee AAA is on a distinguished road
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    1) From Playing by the Rules by Arnold Palmer.

    Finally I said, "I'm going to play two balls and appeal to the tournament committee." I knew I had that option under rule 3-3a. This was a stroke play competition, and there was definitely a doubt as to the procedure, not on my part, but on the part of one of the officials.

    "No, sir," Mr. Lacey said with a slight edge to his voice, "You cannot do that either."
    That's when I knew my official was out of bounds. There was a one-in-a-million chance that I was wrong about the embedded ball rule. Even though it had been in effect all week, I could have been wrong. It could have been rescinded on Sunday without my knowledge. But I knew I was right about playing a second ball. That I always an option under the rules.

    "Well," I said, "that's exactly what I'm doing."
    In accordance with Rule 3-3a as I knew it, I played the Ball, the embedded ball still buried in its pitch mark, and took a double-bogey. Then I returned to the spot where the original ball had been, and I dropped a second ball. From there I chipped up to about three feet and made that putt for par, much to the chagrin of Mr. Lacey, who stood stoically nearby.


    2) The decision didn't have to be. It is just indicative.

    3) The rule does not require that both balls be played in parallel. There is nothing to say the first may not be played until holed and then followed by the second.

    At that time the rule said that if the counting ball had not been declared, then the second ball would count.

  16. #16
    Golf Canada Rules Official L4 LobWedge is on a distinguished road LobWedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AAA View Post
    1) From Playing by the Rules by Arnold Palmer.

    Finally I said, "I'm going to play two balls and appeal to the tournament committee." I knew I had that option under rule 3-3a. This was a stroke play competition, and there was definitely a doubt as to the procedure, not on my part, but on the part of one of the officials.

    "No, sir," Mr. Lacey said with a slight edge to his voice, "You cannot do that either."
    That's when I knew my official was out of bounds. There was a one-in-a-million chance that I was wrong about the embedded ball rule. Even though it had been in effect all week, I could have been wrong. It could have been rescinded on Sunday without my knowledge. But I knew I was right about playing a second ball. That I always an option under the rules.

    "Well," I said, "that's exactly what I'm doing."
    In accordance with Rule 3-3a as I knew it, I played the Ball, the embedded ball still buried in its pitch mark, and took a double-bogey. Then I returned to the spot where the original ball had been, and I dropped a second ball. From there I chipped up to about three feet and made that putt for par, much to the chagrin of Mr. Lacey, who stood stoically nearby.


    2) The decision didn't have to be. It is just indicative.

    3) The rule does not require that both balls be played in parallel. There is nothing to say the first may not be played until holed and then followed by the second.

    At that time the rule said that if the counting ball had not been declared, then the second ball would count.
    From the 1956-1960 Rules:

    11-5: In stroke play only, when a competitor is doubtful of his rights or procedure, he may play out the hole with the ball in play and, at the same time, complete the play of the hole with a second ball. Before playing a stroke with either ball, the competitor must announce to his marker his intention to proceed under this Rule and must announce which ball he wants to score with if the Rules permit.
    On completing the round the competitor must report the facts immediately to the Committee. If it be found that the Rules allow the procedure selected in advance, the score with the ball so selected shall be his score for the hole. Should the competitor fail to announce in advance his procedure or selection, the score with the second ball shall be his score for the hole if played in accordance with the Rules.


    Your statement regarding the decision is irrelevant. Palmer failed to inform his FC that he was invoking the rule prior to playing a stroke at the original ball.
    When applying the Rules, you follow them line by line. You don't read between them.

  17. #17
    England Golf Referee AAA is on a distinguished road
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    How do we know he didn't? Are you sure Venturi was not party to the dispute with the official?
    However, it doesn't matter. The rule covers any 'non-announcement'.

    Should the competitor fail to announce in advance his procedure or selection, the score with the second ball shall be his score for the hole if played in accordance with the Rules

  18. #18
    5 Iron adanac is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by AAA View Post
    How do we know he didn't? Are you sure Venturi was not party to the dispute with the official?
    However, it doesn't matter. The rule covers any 'non-announcement'.

    Should the competitor fail to announce in advance his procedure or selection, the score with the second ball shall be his score for the hole if played in accordance with the Rules
    Why on earth are we arguing over a situation that happened 55 years ago, that we are only aware of the "reported" facts of that situation (from persons who may have memory lapses), and a final decision was reached on site?
    What do we expect the outcome to be?

  19. #19
    England Golf Referee AAA is on a distinguished road
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    It is an interesting discussion on the rules as now and as then.

  20. #20
    Golf Canada Rules Official L4 BC MIST is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by adanac View Post
    Why on earth are we arguing over a situation that happened 55 years ago, that we are only aware of the "reported" facts of that situation (from persons who may have memory lapses), and a final decision was reached on site?
    What do we expect the outcome to be?
    Perhaps it is also a good reminder to those here who play in tournaments that there is a procedure to follow under 3-3, in particular, declaring with which ball one wishes to score, as the consequences for not doing so could mean an unnecessary higher score. Having dealt with 3-3 both as a tournament player and as an official, it is apparent that most players still do not know their obligations when playing under this rule.

  21. #21
    Hall of Fame mpare is on a distinguished road mpare's Avatar
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    Years ago while playing in the NB Amateur a fellow competitor was about to utilize this option and seek a ruling after the round. He had told us what he was about to do, but failed to tell us which ball he wanted to count. He thought it obvious. Was I in error in having asked him, before he hit either his original ball or the other, to state to us which ball he wanted to count? At that point, he smiled and told us which ball he wanted scored. Does it make any difference to the question I just asked that he bought me a beer after the round?

    Quote Originally Posted by BC MIST View Post
    Perhaps it is also a good reminder to those here who play in tournaments that there is a procedure to follow under 3-3, in particular, declaring with which ball one wishes to score, as the consequences for not doing so could mean an unnecessary higher score. Having dealt with 3-3 both as a tournament player and as an official, it is apparent that most players still do not know their obligations when playing under this rule.
    Proud member of the 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 Ottawa Golf Ryder Cup teams.

  22. #22
    Golf Canada Rules Official L4 BC MIST is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpare View Post
    Years ago while playing in the NB Amateur a fellow competitor was about to utilize this option and seek a ruling after the round. He had told us what he was about to do, but failed to tell us which ball he wanted to count. He thought it obvious. Was I in error in having asked him, before he hit either his original ball or the other, to state to us which ball he wanted to count? At that point, he smiled and told us which ball he wanted scored. Does it make any difference to the question I just asked that he bought me a beer after the round?
    Whether it is a provincial Amateur or a local Field Day, as competitors, we have an obligation to "protect the field." In asking the question that you did, or asking, for example, if a player's "another ball" is a provisional ball, we are probably helping the player and ensuring that the final outcome of the tournament is fair. Faced with situation under the pressure of a tournament, some players become "brain dead" and don't do or say what they would normally do. Sometimes the reaction is negative and as a consequence, other players learn to turn a blind eye to what is happening, but speaking up is the right thing to do. He should have bought you two beers.

  23. #23
    England Golf Referee AAA is on a distinguished road
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    From the R&A's Guidance on Running a Competition

    The referee is not responsible for a player’s wilful breach of the Rules, but he
    certainly does have an obligation to advise players about the Rules. It would be contrary to the
    spirit of fair play if a referee failed to inform a player of his rights and obligations under the
    Rules and then penalised him for a breach that he could have prevented. The referee who tries
    to help players to avoid breaches of the Rules cannot be accused of favouring one player
    against the other, since he would act in the same manner towards any player and is, therefore,
    performing his duties impartially.

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