Late claims not valid in match play

A rules violation didn’t prove costly for Great Britain and Ireland in its Walker Cup victory because it didn‘t come to light until after the results had been posted.

Jack Senior and Andy Sullivan combined for a 2&1 win over Kelly Kraft and Russell Henley in one of the opening matches as the amateurs from across the pond assumed an early 3-1 lead.  Then it was discovered that Senior’s brother Joe was a professional and should not have been serving as his caddie according to the conditions of the competition.

A check of the rules, specifically Rule 2-5, revealed that a later claim can not be considered after the result of a match has been officially announced if the player did not knowlingly breach the rule. Had it been discovered during play, the penalty would have been lost of a hole, maximum of two.

Delayed calls even during a match can not be considered either. In the 1991 Ryder Cup at the Ocean Course in South Carolina, Seve Ballestros and Jose Maria Olazabel observed opponents Chip Beck and Paul Azinger forget that the one-ball rule was in affect. However, they did not make a claim until later and it was ruled not valid since it was not done before the four teed off on the next hole.

In a Ryder Cup-style competition involving the Dallas District Golf Association and the Dallas Women’s Golf Association, I received a call the next day from one of the ladies who thought she had won her singles matches when she looked at the scorecard although it had been reported as a tie earlier. Of course, even if she was correct, it was too late for any kind of claim. As it turned out, a call to the DDGA player revealed that the tie was actually correct. It seems she had just entered the two scores from the men in the wrong places on her scorecard.

Looking at the Decisions on the Rules of Golf, I found three other interesting cases:

Two players left the 18th green thinking A had won the match, but later after reporting the results realized that they were actually even. Since there was no indication that wrong information had been given, A was ruled the winner.

A doesn’t realize he has won the match 1 up and goes into extra holes with B, losing on the 20th. He then discovers his error. Again, it’s too late.

A concedes a short putt and thinks he has lost 1 up,  but before leaving the 18th green discovered that B putted from the wrong position and lost that hole instead of tying it.  A’s claim is upheld and the pair headed for extra holes.

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