Multiple Relief Options
At the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship, hole 16 provided a busy week for rulings. Because of the heavy rains we received on Friday, a missed tee shot right usually resulted in your ball coming to rest in the general area as seen in the attached photo.
Looking at the photo you can see all the different areas that may require relief options.
- The path was deemed to be artificially surfaced and thus an immoveable obstruction.
- Casual water was also visible and relief was available particularly during the 2nd and 3rd rounds before the water dissipated.
- Due to a lack of consideration for the golf course, many service carts chose to drive wherever they wanted creating deep tire ruts.
All three of the relief options are different and it was important when called into the situation by the player to ask: “What are you looking to get relief for?”
Seems like a basic question and it sometimes caused the player a confused response. However, there were many instances when the player’s ball came to rest on the right side of the path in either casual water or a tire rut. The player was required to stand on the path when playing the intended stroke and therefore was entitled to take relief for either option.
After asking the player what he wanted to take relief for, we always looked at where the nearest point of relief was for each area in question before he made a decision to pick up his ball and proceed to drop. Many times the player wanted to play from the cart path because his direction of play had a clear opening toward the green. In that case it almost became a free look situation when the player found himself standing on the cart path while his ball was in casual water. Taking relief for the casual water allowed him to drop in the prescribed club length area on the cart path. If his lie was good he could choose to play the ball. If he didn’t like the lie, he could then take relief for the cart path and proceed accordingly.
It was a unique rules situation that wasn’t hard to deal with but often became a pace of play issue. Trying to direct the player without wasting too much time and backing up groups is a situation that officials need to always be aware of while dealing with multiple rules situations.