Can a golf ball be replaced on the exact position where it was before it was moved? I don’t really think so.
One of golf’s newest rules revisions that allows a player’s reasonable judgement to be considered in cases involving video replays saved Jon Rahm from being penalized for playing his ball from the wrong spot during the final round of the Irish Open last Sunday.
On the sixth green, Rahm marked his ball from the side and then moved it to the side to get out of Daniel Im’s line. After Im putts, he moved his mark back to its original location, but placed the ball slightly ahead of the mark instead of the side. The ball did appear to be closer to the hole based on a video.
Andy McFee, the chief rules official for the European Tour, did admit there may have been a slight difference between where the ball came to rest and where it was replaced. However, he equated it to the difference between 10 o’clock and 11 o’clock on a watch, a slight enough gap that it could be absolved by the new rule created in the wake of Lexi Thompson’s situation in April.
“When he put the ball back down, Raum said, ‘I think I made an effort to put it back to the side,’ which tallies with what I see on the pictures,” McFee noted. “Because if he didn’t, he’d be putting it back immediately in front of the marker, and he didn’t. He moved it slightly to the side. So do I think he’s got the ball in exactly the right place? No, I don’t. I think the ball is slightly in the wrong place, but we’re talking about maybe a couple millimeters here or there. So then that falls within the limitation of video evidence, and it comes down to has the player made a reasonable judgment? And I believe he has”
Rahm, who went on to shoot a final-round 65 and break the tournament scoring record by three shots six shots ahead of his nearest competitor. said he hopes that any controversy stemming from the situation will not overshadow 72 holes of stellar play at Portstewart.
While feeling he put the ball back correctly, Rahm did tell McFee that he would accept a two-stroke penalty if the official felt it was necessary.
There was no reason for Rahm to call a penalty himself either as one writer wrote.
I do take issue with with the comments from golf commentators Brandel Chamblee and Billy Kratzert, who disagreed with McFee’s decision. While it is their rights to express their views, evidently Chamblee and Kratzert did not see the same video McFee did. Chamblee felt Rahm moved the ball 2 to 3 inches closer and Kratzert thought he moved it from 9 to 12 on the clock.
McFee, however, saw it differently and he has the final word on the matte