I was the referee in charge for a professional Match Play tournament two weeks ago for the East Coast Pro Tour at Balmoral golf Course in Morin Heights. Those three days of competition gave me a lot of work.
CAN WE AGREE TO OVERLOOK A RULE OF GOLF IN A MATCH PLAY COMPETITION
Because the competition is only between two players, whatever is decided between themselves does not have any effect on the other players in other matches. Some golfers think they can agree on not putting in effect a rule of golf. There are some examples:
a) I want to be a good guy; I agree in advance with my opponent that all the putts under the length of the smallest club will be conceded.
b) If one of our ball is in a bad lie in the rough, we will use the Ground Under Repair rule and drop the ball at one club length from the bad spot.
c) On hole # 6, we agree in advance that because of the hill we have to climb, we will use the white tees instead of the Black tee markers
d) Is a ball lies in a bunker and all the bunker is damaged, we will drop a ball outside the bunker without penalty.
e) Instead of placing the ball with our hand in the fairway under the preferred lie rule, we will use the head of the club.
THE RULE OF GOLF
Rule 1.3b is explicit on that matter: In all those cases, the two players will be disqualified if they start the round without cancelling those agreements. The players don’t even need to have executed the arrangements.
WHAT IS PERMITTED?
Here are a few examples of what is acceptable:
a) I may concede my opponent’s next stroke even if he is very far from the hole.
b) My opponent’s ball is in the rough sitting on a bare patch. I may permit him to take relief from ground under repair without asking a referee.
c) My opponent plays his tee shot from the white tees instead of the black tees. I am allowed to accept that mistake without asking him to restart from the right tees.
d) My ball is in a bunker that is very damaged because of heavy rain. We may agree that the bunker is ground under repair and I may drop a ball outside the bunker without penalty
e) On hole # 16, I see my opponent moving his ball in the fairway with the head of his club instead of using his hands. I don’t call a penalty on him.
We are always allowed to close our eyes on a breach of the rules from an opponent. What we are not allowed is to agree to purposely breach a rule.
WHEN CAN I CALL A PENALTY TO MY OPPONENT?
At the end of a match, I can’t ask a referee for a breach I saw from my opponent if I did not tell the opponent before he made a stroke on the next hole that I want to make a claim.