I was playing a round with a mentor of mine, Bob Fortune, and he told me a story. Bob was one of the top golfers in Canadian Forces for years. He played in many international competitions and his story of the importance of marking your ball really hit home.
While playing in a tournament, Bob watched his competitor tee off 4 times on one hole. Each time the ball went to the same general location. After the 4th ball they decided that they should be able to find one of them. After a short search, they found a ball. Of course the first question was, “What were you shooting?” The competitor said, “Titleist 4.” His next question was, “What was your second ball?” The response, “Titleist 4.” Bob’s third question, “Your third ball?” Again the response, “Titleist 4.” The fourth question received the same response, “Titlest 4!”
Bob said he was shocked. His competitor had not marked his ball in order to specifically identify it as his own. Bob said, “I am sorry, but you are lying 7.” His competitor did not agree and challenged his interpretation of the rules. They agreed to ask the judge when they ended the round.
At the completion of the round, they brought their claim to the tournament judge and the ruling was in favor of Bob’s interpretation. At the time, I was not know rules and asked him why. According 2012 RCGA rules, it is the responsibility of each play to put an identification mark on your ball; many golfers play the same brand of ball and if you can’t identify your ball, it is considered lost (Rules 12-2 and 27-1). Thus 2 stroke penalty for each ball not found. In this case 6 strokes.
Since Bob’s story, I have always marked my ball. I use blue and read ink. I use blue for regular play and red for a provisional ball. I have never been caught by this rule, but I can easily see the average player could be quickly be assessed a two-stroke penalty.
Have you ever been caught by this rule?