Snedeker penalty at WGC Bridgestone Invitational – Meaning of “Directly Attributable”
RULING at WGC BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONAL
Stephen Cox, PGRA Member
1 July 2016
During round 1 of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone CC, Brandt Snedeker was penalized 1 stroke under Rule 20-1 for accidentally moving his coin which was marking the position of his ball on the 4th green.
Brandt had reached down in close proximity to the ball in order to replace it and unfortunately dropped the ball onto the coin (all be it from a small height of approximately 2-3 inches) which caused the ball marker to move.
The slight confusion (hence why the player called for a 2nd opinion) was that Brandt felt that as his hand was in contact with the putting surface when he dropped the ball onto the marker, he was in the specific act of replacing the ball and therefore should be exempt from penalty.
My decision as the 2nd opinion merely confirmed the answer given by Asian Tour Official, Jittisak Tamprasert. I explained to Brandt that as the movement of the ball marker was not “directly attributable to the specific act” of replacing the ball as he had dropped the ball onto the marker (as oppose to moving the marker whilst still in possession of the ball), he would incur a 1 stroke penalty and the marker should be replaced.
“The verbiage in Decision 20-1/15…would result in the player incurring a penalty stroke.”
The verbiage in Decision 20-1/15 (which was shown to the player following the round) is very clear confirms that any accidental movement of the ball marker, such as dropping the ball, regardless of height from which it was dropped, is not considered to be “directly attributable” to the specific act of replacing, and would result in the player incurring a penalty stroke.