Bug on Bryson Dechambeau’s ball: OK to move it?

Hi all!

Thursday a fun episode involving the Rules of Golf unfolded on the PGA Tour in “OHL Classic at Mayakoba”.

1) Facts.
A bug climbed onto the ball of Bryson Dechambeau on the fairway, and it didn’t really want to move – see the video below:

As you can see Dechambeau called a rules official to find out what his (not the bug’s) rights under the Rules of Golf were.

2) The Rules of Golf?
The Rules of Golf states this:

a) A bug or an insect is a loose impediment (according to Decision 13-4/16.5 and Decisions 23-1/5).
b) Thus on fairway a player is allowed to “…remove the insect with his fingers or blow the insect off the ball, but if doing so causes the ball to move, there is a penalty under Rule 18-2.” (Decision 23-1/5).

Since the ball did not move (see the video above), Dechambeau was in accordance with the Rules!

3) Bonus-information for rules geeks.
For rules geeks there is a bit og bonus information:

a) Note, that Decision 23-1/5 states that a player is allowed to move the bug/insect with his fingers or by blowing. Dechambeau used a tee (or a small pencil). Well what do we do then? Decision 23-171 states, that you are allowed to remove lose impediments “by any means”. Does Decision 23-1/5 (only use fingers or blow!) intent to change Decision 23-1/1 (any means)? I don’t think so. But they should have had an “e.g.” in Decision 23-1/5: “…remove the insect e.g. with his fingers or blow…”.

b) Had the ball lied in water hazard (or bunker) things would have been a bit more complicated. Decision 23-1/5 states: “If the player’s ball lies in a hazard, the insect is considered to be in the hazard and the player may not touch or physically remove the insect from the ball (Rule 13-4c). However, as the insect is animate and capable of moving on its own, the player may take action, such as waving his hand, a club or towel, to encourage the insect to move. If the insect moves, there is no penalty, provided the player has not touched the insect while it is on the ball, touched the ground in the hazard or water in the water hazard with his hand or club, or moved the ball.



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