9. Elimination of the Requirement to Announce the Players Intent to Lift a Ball

Current Rule: A special procedure applies when a player intends to mark and lift a ball in three specific situations under the Rules: 


  Before lifting the ball, the player must announce the intention to do so to the opponent in match play or another player or the marker in stroke play, and then allow that person to observe the process of lifting and replacing the ball.


  This procedure applies when a ball will be lifted (1) for identification (Rule 12-2), (2) to see if it has become unfit for play (Rule 5-3), or (3) to see if it lies in a condition from which relief is allowed, such as when the ball might be embedded (Decision 20-1/0.7). 


Proposed Rule: In all three situations under the new Rules (that is, Rule 4.2b, Rule 7.3 and Rule 16.4):


  A player would be allowed to mark and lift the ball and proceed under the Rule without needing first to announce this intention to another person or to give that person a chance to observe the process. 


  But the player would still get a one-stroke penalty if he or she marked and lifted the ball without good reason to do so under that Rule. 


Reasons for Change


  The Rules generally rely on the integrity of the player.


o   In other relief situations, including when a ball may be lifted and played from a different place, players are allowed to proceed under the Rules without being required to involve another person in any part of the process.


o   For example, a player may determine that a cart path interferes with the lie of his or her ball or the area of intended stance or swing, find the nearest point of relief, lift the ball and drop it in the specified area, determine that the ball has come to rest in the right place, and play the ball all without having to announce his or her intentions to another person or to allow that other person to observe the process to make sure the player acts correctly.


  Eliminating the announcement requirements for these three situations would simplify the Rules, bring consistency to the approach of trusting the player and eliminate an unnecessary procedural penalty for simply not informing an appropriate person.


  These procedural requirements often have no practical effect as many players to whom such an announcement is made decline to observe the lifting and replacement process and thus are content to rely on the players integrity.  


  This change should also speed up play because a player would no longer need to take the time to inform another player of the intent to lift and to wait to see if that other player wants to come over to observe the lifting and replacement of the ball.


  The requirement for the player to have a good reason to lift under the Rule is a sufficient safeguard against inappropriate lifting or abuse of the Rule.


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