Last Friday, Dechambeau got a beautiful break. He lost his ball but was not penalized for it. Let’s have a look at a few rules to explain that possibility.
Dechambeau sent his ball in an area with many green fences. These fences were considered Temporary Immovable Obstruction. He did not find his ball and the referee granted him a free relief.
When a ball is lost in an obstruction or an abnormal course condition, the player must find the approximate point where the ball crossed the edge of the object and from there, he may drop a ball within one club-length and continue play without penalty.
A) You send your ball in the clubhouse and that area is not declared out of bounds.
B) You saw your ball fall in a trash can…. you don’t need to find it or identify it
C) The middle of the fairway is full of water. You see your ball land in the temporary water. Upon arriving at the area, you can’t find the ball because the water is too deep.
D) A ball lands in a grandstand and nobody says they have the ball.
E) You send your ball in the middle of the fairway and you see a fox going to your ball. You arrive at the area, and you don’t find the ball, but you see the fox running. Most of the time we could assumed that the fox took the ball.
But we must be very careful in applying that rule. Some circumstances won’t not grant you a free relief:
There is a lot of temporary water inside a wooden area, you send your ball in the woods and you don’t find it. It is not possible to invoke the ball lost in an abnormal course condition. The ball can be lost somewhere else. This could also apply in the rough.
To apply this rule, we must me certain at 95% that the ball is lost in the obstruction. It all depends on the surroundings or if someone saw the ball enter the obstruction.