Boris and Cliff are playing in a tournament. On the 4th hole, both balls rest on the green. As the balls are somewhat close to the hole, Cliff uses the flagstick to determine which ball is away. In the act of measuring, he drops the flagstick and moves the ball. Cliff says there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced. Boris says the dropping of the flagstick on the ball was not directly attributable to the specific act of measuring and the ball must be replaced incurring a penalty stroke. Is Boris correct?
If the measuring incurred while holding onto the flagstick, the movement of the ball was directly attributable to the specific act of measuring and the ball should be replaced without penalty. The dropping of the flagstick, however, was not directly attributable to measuring and therefore subject to penalty. Boris knows the Rules and is correct. See USGA Decisions on the Rules of Golf, 2016-2017, 18-6/2.
The last in the series of 2016 Saturday golf clinics will be on Oct. 1 from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. It has been my pleasure to work with those that came to the clinics during the year. Remember, the swing’s the thing and continuous improvement is what it’s all about.