Annika’s fans were very happy to see her back in competition last weekend. Unfortunately, she was in the center of a bad ruling on the 5th hole of the first round.
Her ball was very near a gate and she asked a referee for a free relief, because the gate was easily movable. The referee denied her the relief and she had to take an unplayable with a one-stroke penalty.
Under the LPGA annual local rules, a gate situated on a Out of Bounds fence is considered an integral part. A player may not obtain a free relief from an immovable obstruction but is allowed to open the gate is it is easily movable.
In all my tournaments, I always ask the referees to share with all the other referees any ruling out of the ordinary while the ruling is made. This is to avoid any mistakes.
When a players play from another place because of a bad ruling, it is not possible to correct. In this incident, the incorrect ruling made Annika play her next stroke close to 2 club-length from the original position.
INFORMATION ON OUT OF BOUNDS OBJECTS
A player is not allowed to remove any white stakes. He is also denied a free relief if the fence interferes with his stance or swing. As a general rule, a door or steps will grant the player a free relief.
If the gate is locked, we are not allowed to use a tool to break the lock…