Dick’s Sporting Goods Open; Rulings Are Not Always Simple
When a player asks for a ruling, frequently several Rules or Decisions apply to the situation that confronts the referee. An example of this took place at the PGA TOUR Champions Dick’s Sporting Goods Open near the end of the final round.
Paul Goydos and fellow competitor John Riegger had both just birdied the 16th hole, and Goydos held a two stroke lead. After the players hit their tee shots on #17, the Golf Channel notified the Rules officials by radio that a referee may be needed near the green. I was only 50 yards away, so I made my way through the spectators and saw that 2 balls were in a greenside bunker about a foot apart. As the players arrived they asked me for some help on how to proceed.
Jim Witherspoon and Paul Goydos at Dick’s Sporting Goods Open
Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR
Riegger, being farther from the hole, asked Goydos to lift his ball as it interfered with his play [Rule 22-2]. Goydos asked me for confirmation on the marking and lifting process, and I reminded him that cleaning the ball under this rule is not permitted [Rules 22-2 and 21c]. He then asked me if he could place the marker to the right of the ball rather than behind it, and I informed him that that was permissible [Rule 20-1 and Decision 20-1/19].
“because the lie of his ball was altered by the sand displaced by Riegger’s stroke, he was required to recreate the original lie”
Clearly, Riegger was going to alter the area of Goydos’ stance and deposit sand on the ball marker. I pointed out to them the original lie of Goydos’ ball (which was a very good one, thanks to the excellent work of the En-Joie GC maintenance crew). After Riegger played his shot, Goydos asked me about restoring the bunker to its original condition, particularly in the area of his intended stance. Decision 13-4/19 covers this exact situation, so I told him that the bunker could be restored by anyone. And, because the lie of his ball was altered by the sand displaced by Riegger’s stroke, he was required to recreate the original lie and then place the ball in that lie [Rule 20-3b (iii)].
After his caddie completed the restoration of the bunker and the ball had been replaced, Goydos played an excellent bunker shot to 3 ½ feet. He then made the par putt and claimed a two stroke victory at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open on the 18th hole.
A guiding principle is that the player is entitled to the lie, line of play and stance which his stroke gave him.