Last week was the rare opportunity to see a Match Play competition on the PGA Tour. Some rules are quite different from Stroke Play.
In Stroke Play, the general penalty is 2 strokes. The same penalty in Match Play is the lost of the hole being played. Here a few examples of a general penalty:
Grounding the club in a bunker, removing sand in the bunker on the backswing, playing a wrong ball or playing from a wrong place. When 2 players played a wrong ball on the same hole, the first player making a stroke at a wrong ball will lose the hole.
There is no difference between Match Play and Stroke Play when a player gets a penalty of one stroke. It could be when a player moves his ball, declares an unplayable or lost ball.
In Stroke Play, when a player makes a stroke outside the teeing area, the player must cancel the stroke and replay it with a 2-stroke penalty. In Match Play there is no penalty, but the opponent may ask the players to play again from inside the teeing area.
In Stroke play a player must always complete each hole by sending his ball in the hole. In Match Play a player may concede to his opponent, the next stroke or the hole being played. A player may also concede the match anytime.
Since January 2019, a player may concede the next stroke to his opponent by stopping his ball past the hole even if the ball is still in motion if there is not possibility for the ball to return back toward the hole.
GIVING THE RIGHT INFORMATION
In Match Play, each player has the obligation to give the right information to the opponent on the number of strokes taken. If a player does not give the correct information and it makes a difference in the understanding of the result of the hole, the player will lose the hole. If a player incurs a penalty and the opponent did not see the action, the player must tell his opponent as soon as possible of the penalty.
In a Match with handicap strokes, if a player declares a handicap too high, he is disqualified. If he declared a lower handicap, he must play with the wrong handicap.
ADJUSTMENT OF THE MATCH PENALTIES
If a player has more than 14 clubs or if he has two caddies, the penalty is an adjustment of the match after the completion of the hole being played. On hole # 2, a player finds out he has 15 clubs. After the completion of that hole the match is adjusted by 2 holes. A player that was 2 down after 2 holes would be 4 down after those 2 holes. The same calculation would be done if the player was in breach of the rule on caddies.
The player may practice on or near the last green played. But he is not allowed to practice in a bunker.