April 11 - 2009
At the moment, the Presidents Cup is being contested (over the course of the next few weeks) and I thought it might be important to remind the Men's Club of a few points regarding Match Play.
Although Stroke and Match Play are both forms of competing at golf, it's critical to understand how the Rules of Golf treat them differently. Stroke Play is a round played where every stroke is counted-thus the lowest total score over 18 holes, 36 holes, etc. is deemed the winner. Match Play is very different in that EACH hole is a separate contest, thus the Rules for Match Play state that a winner of the hole MUST be determined before the next hole is played. This is absolutely critical because it affects the strategy in playing the next hole, and the eventual outcome. Fortunately, the Rules cover the inevitable discreprencies that can occur when one player thinks his opponent MAY have broken a Rule of Golf. I've included the Decision that allows the match to continue (making a claim) and the Rule that allows a timely decision in the event that a tie occurred and there must be a play-off.
For a claim to be valid, the claimant must notify his opponent (i) that he is making a claim, (ii) of the facts of the situation and (iii) that he wants a ruling. He must do so within the time required by Rule 2-5. For example, Rule 16-1e prohibits putting from a stance astride an extension of the line of putt behind the ball. In a match between A and B, if A putts from a stance astride an extension of the line and B states "that is not allowed, you are penalized" or "I'm making a claim because of that stroke," the Committee should consider the claim. Statements by B such as "I'm not sure that's allowed" or "I don't think you can do that" do not by themselves constitute a valid claim because each statement does not contain the notice of a claim, the facts of the situation and an indication that he wants a ruling.
In match play, if a doubt or dispute arises between the players, a player may make a claim. If no duly authorized representative of the Committee is available within a reasonable time, the players must continue the match without delay. The Committee may consider a claim only if the player making the claim notifies his opponent (i) that he is making a claim, (ii) of the facts of the situation and (iii) that he wants a ruling. The claim must be made before any player in the match plays from the next teeing ground or, in the case of the last hole of the match, before all players in the match leave the putting green. A later claim may not be considered by the Committee, unless it is based on facts previously unknown to the player making the claim and he had been given wrong information (Rules 6-2a and 9) by an opponent.
Once the result of the match has been officially announced, a later claim may not be considered by the Committee, unless it is satisfied that the opponent knew he was giving wrong information.