When a ball is in a bunker, we must accept the lie even if we don’t like it. As an example:
1. In a foot print
2. In a depression
3. Against a branch or a leaf (Loose Impediments)
4. In a bad rake job
5. A bad lie created by someone from a previous group
6. Fried egg
Other situations may give free relief to a player:
1. A ball that lies against a rake (movable obstruction)
2. A drain or a immovable obstruction bother the stance or the position of the ball
3. Small stones
4. Casual water
5. A bad lie created by a player from the players group
Many golf courses uses liners under the sand. When Hoffman took his stance, in digging his feet he touched the liner. Because the liner is an immovable obstruction, the player is allowed a free relief.
Amongst ourselves (rules officials) we had many discussions in the past days. This is a matter quite difficult to manage. It is difficult to detect if the player is exaggerating his stance.
This ruling will give more pressure to the Superintendents to make sure there is enough sand over the liners.