You never know what might happen on a golf course. Kevin Tivnan can confirm that.
Princeton-based Tivnan, 72, recently lost his approach shot on the second par-4 hole on the Green Hill Municipal Golf Course. Then, on the third par-5 hole, he couldn’t find his second shot in the real rough and was about to drop another ball. He wasn’t happy.
Fortunately, I found his ball. Then he hit a gap wedge from 83 yards. His ball hit the green a few centimeters from the cup, jumped and landed on an eagle. Talk about a change in emotions – from frustration to elation.
Tivnan admitted he didn’t see the ball disappear into the cup.
“I think I’m pretty lucky,” he said. “I guess it was Kismet or something.”
Ron Lohnes wasn’t so lucky. The 71-year-old Worcester resident recently hit his third shot into the bunker off the green on the par-5 16 hole on Green Hill. The bunker was filled with cloudy water from heavy rain the day before Tropical Storm Henri, and we couldn’t see it. There was no rake nearby, so the three of us dragged our clubs through the water, but we couldn’t find his ball.
So Lohnes took a drop and tossed his 90-foot chip shot into the cup in what he thought was a birdie.
“That was a very surprising shot,” said Lohnes. “I really couldn’t believe it turned out that way. It didn’t roll in, it just took a jump. “
“I’m sure it felt like a birdie to him,” said Gary Young, PGA Tour Vice President of Rules, Contests, and Administration.
Unfortunately, Lohnes ended up with a bogey, not a birdie. I called Young to make a decision, and the Millbury resident and former Head Pro at Pleasant Valley CC said Lohnes had received a two-shot penalty.
Young pointed out that some rules of golf changed in 2019. The term “temporary water” has replaced “casual water” and bunkers are no longer considered a source of danger. In fact, there are no more dangers. There are bunkers and punishment rooms. Temporary water from heavy rain cannot exist in a penalty area but can exist in a bunker, Young said.
Young said it was necessary to determine whether the ball disappeared in the sand in the bunker or in the temporary water. If the ball has disappeared in the sand and could not be found within three minutes, the player must play it as a lost ball. So he has to go back to where he hit his previous shot and add a penalty stroke for a lost ball. That’s in line with rule 18.2 of the Rules of Golf, which deals with lost balls, Young said.
The golfer would need strong evidence of what the rules of golf call “knowledge or virtual certainty” to determine that the ball was lost in the passing water, not the sand. If so, the golfer may receive free relief and will not be penalized, but the ball must fall into the bunker within one club’s length, not closer to the hole. The same is true if a ball is struck into a large puddle anywhere else on the pitch. Golf Rules Rule 16.1 deals with the relief of abnormal course conditions such as B. temporary water.
We all agreed that Lohnes’ ball was lost in the water, not in the sand.
Because Lohnes dropped his ball outside the bunker, he should have been awarded a two-shot penalty for playing from the wrong place, Young said.
“If I had known it was a two-stroke, I would have found the ball,” Lohnes said later. “I think it’s too strict.”
If Lohnes had played in a tournament he could have been disqualified, but this was just a friendly with nothing at stake. At least we now know the rules, even if we don’t like them.
You can usually find balls in the water in bunkers, but that water was too deep and cloudy.
If you have stories of interesting or crazy golf shots, send them to the email address at the bottom of this column and they may appear in a future column.
Young said the PGA Tour needs as much time as it needs to pump enough water out of the bunkers after storms for players to relax in the sand. Obviously, Green Hill’s ground crew doesn’t have the same manpower as the PGA Tour.
“It’s one of the biggest conditions we have to contend with when trying to restart the game after a major rain event,” said Young, who was the chief rules officer at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
Next year, the US Open will be held June 16-19 at The Country Club in Brookline, but no event is planned for the TPC Boston in Norton. TPC Boston hosted the Deutsche Bank Championship from 2003 to 2016, the Dell Technologies Championship in 2017 and 2018, and The Northern Trust in 2020. Since 2007 these have been FedEx Cup playoffs.
The Northern Trust was held in Jersey City, New Jersey, August 19-22, but will be replaced by the FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis, Tennessee in next year’s playoff opening tournament. Obviously, FedEx wanted to host a playoff in its hometown.
Young said it might not be a playoff event, but the PGA Tour plans to return to the Boston area.
“We’ll definitely be back at some point,” insisted Young. “Boston is too important a market for us. I am sure that we will come back in some form in this area. “
When that happens, Young can work on the event while sleeping in his own bed in Millbury. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan grew up in Belmont and was the first tournament director of the Deutsche Bank Championship, so he knows the importance of the Boston market.
“We’ll be fine to return,” said Young. “We are looking forward. I know we all want to go back here. “
—Contact Bill Doyle at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ BillDoyle15.