Rules breach creates odd WAPL scenario

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – There are few worse feelings in golf than hammering a drive down the fairway, only to find that it’s on the wrong hole.

Kimberly Kim experienced that Wednesday morning in her match against Simone Hoey at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links. Kim and Hoey came off the sixth hole at the Warren Course at Notre Dame, crossed the parking lot and – with Hoey in the lead – walked down the hill to what they thought was the seventh tee.

Hoey had just lost the sixth hole to go 3 down to Kim, so Kim launched the first tee shot. That’s when a spectator noticed the girls had chosen the wrong fork in the road. The seventh tee was up the hill and to the right. They actually were on the 16th tee.

According to Rule 11-4, if a player, in match play, plays from outside the teeing ground (which includes a wrong tee, covered by Rule 11-5, which reverts to Rule 11-4), there is no penalty, but the opponent has the option of requiring the player to recall the stroke and replay the shot from the correct teeing ground. Lucky for Kim, it’s the first day of match play, as teeing it up on a wrong tee box in stroke play would have resulted in a two-shot penalty.

Also lucky for Kim, Hoey chose to recall Kim’s shot. She didn’t have to, as it’s the opponent’s choice whether the player who teed it up incorrectly will replay the shot or play the ball as it lies. If Hoey had chosen to make Kim play her first tee shot, Kim would have had to hit her second shot over a small forest and up a hill to the seventh fairway – an impossible shot even for a USGA superstar such as Kim.

Both assumed Kim had lost the hole, and were making their way to the eighth tee before a rules official was consulted. After it was confirmed that Kim and Hoey would put the rules mess behind them and Kim would replay the shot, they moved on to the seventh tee, both with smiles on their faces. From there, Kim put her drive in the fairway and her second shot on the green at the par 4, as Hoey barely missed the fairway, almost put her second shot in trees left of the green, and had just chipped her third shot onto the green when the weather horn sounded suspending play.

Recalling the shot might end up costing Hoey the hole when play resumes, though one can’t help but admire the decision to cancel the shot and level the playing ground.

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