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Rules of Golf by Ryan Farb THE T


OF NUANCES FOUR-BALL What Players Need to Know


his year I was fortunate enough to be invited to serve as a Rules Official for the 2nd U.S. Ama- teur Four-Ball Championship at


Winged Foot Golf Club. This was the third of the four national Four-Ball championships I’ve had the honor to work and the experience was second to none. One of my assignments was to serve as the referee for the semi- final match between the eventual


champions, Ben Baxter and Andrew Buchanan, and Patrick Christovich and Garrett Rank. As a referee there are many things


you’re constantly keeping an eye on. It is our role to act upon any breach of the Rules that is observed or reported to us. With Four-Ball match play there are several nuances in the Rules that make the format even more chal- lenging to manage:


In Four-Ball play, balls belonging to the same side may be played in the order the side considers best.


Order of Play In match play, when a player plays


out of order, the opponent has the option to recall the stroke (Rule 10- 1c). In Four-Ball match play, how- ever, balls belonging to the same side may be played in the order the side considers best (Rule 30-3b), provided it is the side’s turn to play. In a high- level competition, this came into play frequently on the putting green. One player would have a 20-foot putt for birdie while his partner had a two foot putt for par. Sides would frequently let the player make the putt for par first so that his partner could make an aggressive run at the birdie putt.


Assistance Rule 14-2 prohibits a player from having his caddie, his partner or his partner’s caddie from being positioned on or close to an extension of the line of play or putt behind the ball during the stroke. So if a caddie is check- ing his player’s alignment, the caddie must move from standing on that line behind the ball prior to the stroke being made. On the putting green, partners may have putts on a similar line and it was important to make sure that the partner did not stay in a position behind the ball to view that line during the actual stroke.


Concessions In match play, opponents may


concede a player’s next stroke once the ball is at rest. In Four-Ball match play, an opponent might decide to concede a mid-length bogey putt that is on the same line as a longer birdie putt so that the partner would not able to see how the ball will roll to the hole. If a player putts out a conceded putt


64 / NCGA.ORG / SUMMER 2016


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