Ruling of the day: Round 3
The ruling of the day from the third round of The Open.
It is common at The Open Championship for the spectator crossing points to be outlined with white paint and declared by Local Rule to be ground under repair (GUR). Due to the volume of spectator traffic crossing the fairways, these areas can become abnormal due to the footfall.
Justin Rose’s ball was heading towards the crossing point on the 13th hole as spectators were crossing the fairway. The crossing point was opened slightly too early and his ball got caught up in the many feet passing and was deflected prior to it coming to rest, where it was trodden on.
If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced (Rule 18-1). In Rose’s case, the spectators had stood on the ball and by doing so, would have moved it. Therefore, he was required to replace the ball.
However, as no one had seen the ball, no one was able to identify where the ball had originally been lying. In situations where the original lie is not known and the spot on which to replace the ball is not determinable, the player is required to drop the ball rather than simply placing it. Through the green, the ball must be dropped as near as possible to the place where it lay but not in a hazard or on a putting green (Rule 20-3c).
Rose lifted the ball and dropped the ball to be able to satisfy the requirement to get his ball back into play in the correct place after being moved by the spectators. Rose went on to par the hole and post a third round 68.