Omar Morales had a tricky lie at the Latin America Amateur Championship and his misfortune could easily be yours too. So what can you do?
At the risk of bringing out the free relief from divots brigade (it’s never going to happen, get over it), check out this tricky lie Omar Morales faced on the 15th hole in the final round of the Latin America Amateur Championship in Panama City.
Be careful if you’ve not got the sturdiest of constitutions. It might give you palpitations.
Yes, that is the Mexican’s ball wedged in a divot hole with the replaced divot sitting right on it. Morales called for help, but it was quickly clear the divot could not be shifted without moving the ball and that would come with one-stroke penalty.
But could the divot have been moved at all? Is it a loose impediment or is there is something in the Rules of Golf that makes this situation – when a divot is replaced in a divot hole – a special case?
Let’s take a look…
Golf divot: Replacing, removing, or pressing down divots in a divot hole
A divot can be a loose impediment but Rule 8.1a (3) lays down some limitations. If you remove or press down divots that have already been replaced – as this one has been – then you will have taken actions that improve the conditions affecting the stroke.
You’ll have to add the general penalty (two strokes or loss of hole in match play) to your scorecard. There is a clarification that adds a bit more important detail.
You can’t reposition the divot in the hole, it is “treated as part of the ground (and not as a loose impediment), even if it is not yet attached and growing”.
Some of you wags might try to argue the divot hasn’t been properly replaced. ‘It’s just lying on the top, guvnor’.
But the clarification addresses this point. It classes a divot as replaced when “most of it, with the roots down, in a divot hole”.
It doesn’t even matter if it’s the same divot for the hole!
All these trials and tribulations didn’t affect Morales too greatly. He found the fringe of the green from this horror show on his way to finishing runner up to Santiago De la Fuente.
Got a question for our expert?
Despite the changes to the Rules of Golf in 2019 and 2023, there are still some that leave us scratching our heads. I’ll try to help by featuring the best of your queries in this column.
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