Dan Crosby came to the sport of golf at an early age – in seventh grade he realized that getting hit by a fast-pitch baseball was not for him anymore. His father was his high school golf coach, and the only coach that he ever had. Currently residing in New York state, with his wife as his caddy, he lives, sleeps and eats golf.
This is going to sound like sour grapes, however:
It seems to me that the pros have a distinct advantage over us mere mortals when it comes to what is determined to be a movable object or a free drop on the golf course. There are rules officials all over the place during a tour event and they are just a phone call away. On the other hand, you and I have to rely on our lowly interpretations of the rules and while one should have a rule book in his or her bag: who really does?
I am sure that most all golf fans have at least seen a picture of the tiny little rock that “Player X” had moved when his tee shot rolled too near to it. If not, go to this link for a glimpse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4lVCF8c5zk. I have played that course and my guess is that just about everyone else who has played there also tried to move the rock. It’s just not going to happen! There is no way that rock could possibly be moved without the help of a slew of drunken fans or a tractor, whichever is nearby.
It seems to me that if “Player X” was given the ok to move the rock, then he, and maybe Caddie Y, should have been the only ones to be allowed to try. Ultimately, neither the player nor his caddie even helped move the rock. Ken Venturi was very vocal about how wrong it was to have the fans move the rock. In my opinion, if it cannot be moved by the player I don’t think that it can be thought of as moveable, yet the official let a group of fans move the rock for “Player X”. On the other hand, if the ball of a rank amateur (me) lands too close to that same rock, and he won’t have ten drunken guys just hangin’ around to move it for him, he is, shall we say, in deep doodoo. That is not a fair playing field if you ask me.
Since the infamous rock incident the USGA has been questioned many times about the ruling but the moveable object rule includes a provision that fans may indeed help move a moveable object (decision 23- 1/3). I guess I am going to place an ad on Craigslist.com for a posse to follow me around the course and help me move stuff that gets in the way of my shots.
Another rules interpretation that gets me is from the 2006 WGC Bridgestone Open when “Player X” hit a shot so far off line that it landed on top of a building which is part of that club house. He got relief! How? Someone found his ball on the roof and moved it. It was determined that since it was moved he would be allowed to drop free of all of the buildings, etc. Since when is the clubhouse deemed to be in play? Once again, if a rank amateur bails out and blows one onto the roof of the clubhouse he may never find it, let alone get a chance to hit it. Oh no, it’s a lost ball: stroke and distance.
I guess I will have to get my tour card (ha) in order to be able to take advantage of the rules as some tour players do. Tour players have a rough time on the course. Those pesky clubhouses and 1000 pound rocks get in the way, and they are forced to take a drop so their shot is free and clear of obstruction. On the other hand, a regular Joe, playing the same course a week later when the grandstands are gone, hits a wayward shot. It does not hit the grandstand (it’s not there) and his ball bounds around and ends up 40 yards beyond the green. I say, give me grandstands to stop my ball or give me relief….from my skulled 7 iron!!!!