Is it OK that a ball lies somewhere on the putting green as a “backstop” for another player?
Exactly that question was very relevant in the recent Honda LPGA Thailand, where this happened:
Even worse with the full video pic.twitter.com/lpras0mF4L
— Duncan French (@Teamfrench23) 22. februar 2019
At the 18th hole, Ariya Jutanugarn’s ball ended two feet from the hole. She looked at the other player (Amy Olson) probably to find out, whether it was OK that she (Ariya) holed out… but apparently it was not, since Ariya stepped back – maybe because Amy asked her to.
Amy made a stroke at her ball, and the ball rolled and struck Ariya’s ball. and ended two feet from the hole – had it not been stopped, it would probably have rolled a few yards further away from the hole.
After that they fist bumped as they walked towards the putting green together.
Rule 15.3a states, that you are not allowed to agree to leave a ball in place as a “backstop”:
If two or more players agree to leave a ball in place to help any player, and that player then makes a stroke with the helping ball left in place, each player who made the agreement gets the general penalty (two penalty strokes).
Therefore the turning point was whether Amy and Ariya had agreed to leave Ariya’s ball in place to help Amy – or if if was simply just e.g. Amy that wanted to finish the hole quickly.
LPGA ruled that there was no agreement, and therefore they were not penalized.
Feel free to let us know what you think in the comment section below – see also this discussion from golf. com: