Rules of Golf - My Putt Hit My Foot
The Gasparilla Invitational is a premier mid-amateur tournament held each year in February at Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club in Tampa, Fla. With the FSGA headquarters in Tampa, our staff assists the Gasparilla Tournament Committee in marking the course and handling Rules. In the first round of the tournament, an unusual situation occurred.
A player on the fifth green had a putt from approximately three feet from the hole. The player hit the putt firmly, the ball quickly lipped-out and the ball then struck the player’s foot. The player then played the ball from where it came to rest and holed the putt. A few holes later, the player informed a Rules Official of the incident. Then, several FSGA staff members discussed the ruling for confirmation.
Exception 2 to Rule 11.1b Ball Played as it Lies, tells us when a ball is played from the putting green and hits any person, animal or movable obstruction that is on, the putting stroke is cancelled and the ball must be replaced on the original spot and replayed.
The three-foot putt that hit his foot was cancelled and does not count to his score. The player should have replayed the putt since it accidentally hit his foot. When he played the ball from where it came to rest, he played from a wrong place (Rule 14.7) and was penalized two strokes in addition to the stroke counting. The Committee determined that the player did not incur a serious breach of Rule 14.7 (Playing from a Wrong Place) because the player did not gain a significant advantage. A Rules Official informed the player of the ruling and appropriate penalty before he returned his scorecard.
One of the keys in applying Exception 2 to Rule 11.1b is that everything happens accidentally. The placement, or position, of the person, animal or movable obstruction must be accidental and not purposely placed to influence a ball in motion. Additionally, the ball hitting the person, animal or movable obstruction must be accidental; that is, the player must not purposely try to make their ball hit a person, animal or movable obstruction on the putting green.
Two exceptions to the exception listed above exist in the Rules. There are two times when you play from the putting green and your ball hits something on the green and you play the ball as it lies.
- A ball in motion from the putting green hits another ball at rest, the stroke counts you play the ball as it lies. There is no penalty in match play, but the player does get the general penalty (two-strokes) in stroke play.
- A ball in motion from the putting green hits a removed flagstick, an attended flagstick, or the person attending the flagstick (providing everything was accidental). There is no penalty and you play the ball as it lies.
The Rules of Golf were simplified in 2019; however, there are still some complicated parts in the Rules. Learn more on the Rules here.