QUESTION: Terry and Jack are playing in a tournament. On the 7th hole, Terry’s tee shot lands in a water hazard in front of the green. The ball is playable but it is directly behind a stone, which has broken away from a retaining wall (an immovable obstruction). Terry is aware that relief from an immovable obstruction is not allowed without penalty. He says that the stone is a movable obstruction and, therefore, he is allowed relief without penalty. Jack says Terry must be penalized. Is Jack correct?
ANSWER: Although the stone came from the retaining wall, once it broke away, it became a movable obstruction. He may remove it without penalty. Jack is incorrect. Terry knows the rules. See USGA Decisions on the Rules of Golf, 2016-2017, 24/6.
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