Mike Peterson, PGRA Rules Official
25 July 2016
During the 2nd round of the Utah Championship on the Web.com
Tour, a player’s ball came to rest in the fairway just in front of a replaced divot. The player called for a ruling to inquire if he was allowed to step on the replaced divot to level it with the ground so it wouldn’t affect his backswing.
Ball in front of replaced divot.
Photograph by Mike Peterson.
Rule 13-2 specifically states that a player may not improve the lie of his ball or the area of his intended swing by removing or pressing down replaced divots.
In addition, Decision 13-2/7 tells us when a divot is considered “replaced” and no longer a loose impediment. It states that a divot is replaced when substantially all of it, with the roots downwards, lies in a divot hole. And that the hole does not need to be the one from which the divot was extracted.
Since the divot met the criteria above, it was considered replaced and the player was not allowed to remove or press it down prior to his stroke.
Categories: Majors, Rulings