Note To Open Competitors: Yell In Wake Of Laird Penalty

Kevin Murray with the strange saga of Martin Laird not speaking loudly enough for his playing competitor or referree to hear him tough his ball to identify it in the 10th hole rough.

After a 9 on the third hole, this happened at the 10th:

On the par-four 10th, he found the rough twice in succession and, on the second occasion, did not tell playing partner Dustin Johnson or the referee he was going to touch his ball to identify it.

Laird is adamant he told the ball-spotter, but that is not enough under the rules.

He said: "If I had said, 'Dustin, just went down to find my ball,' or, 'Rules official, I'm going to identify my ball', loud enough for one of them to hear, it would have been fine.

"It's the fact that none of them heard it, even though I said it.

"A spotter said to me, 'There's a ball here. I'm not sure if it's yours'.

"I said, 'I'm going to identify it'. I put the tee in the ground [to mark it] and didn't even lift my ball, just moved it a quarter roll to see the number.

"At the time I was thinking more about the golf shot I had coming up than about the ruling. It's one of those lovely rules of golf."

Here is the Q&A with David Rickman explaining why a penalty was incurred:

Q. Can you explain what happened?

DAVID RICKMAN: Well, my understanding and what's been explained is that Martin hit his tee shot in the rough. He then looked to identify that by just gently parting the grass on that occasion. That was fine. He then hit a second shot, also stayed in the rough. And on that second occasion he marked the position of the ball and touched it and just moved it ever so slightly. This is now a situation, by putting his hand on the ball, this is a situation covered by Rule 12-2, which requires the player to announce to his fellow competitor, before getting his hand on the ball, either to move it slightly or to lift it, in either of those circumstances, and he didn't do that. Obviously this week we've also got a walking referee and an observer. Those two individuals would also have qualified as somebody to make that announcement, but I'm afraid by not doing that, it's a breach of Rule 12-2 and it's a one-stroke --

Q. (Inaudible.)
DAVID RICKMAN: Well, I believe he maybe said it to the ball spotter, who was in closest vicinity. But the rule is very specific. It needs to be the fellow competitor, the fellow competitor is there to protect the interests of the rest of the field, and therefore, we are specific about who that needs to be. Because you need to give that fellow competitor, or as I say this week, the referee, the opportunity to come over and observe the player's actions. That's the protection that the rule gives.

Q. (Inaudible.)
DAVID RICKMAN: The ball spotter saw that this was happening. The referee also saw a tee, on this occasion, a tee coming up and down, and that, of itself, indicated that perhaps there had been more than just the parting of the grass, I'm afraid.

Q. (Inaudible.)
DAVID RICKMAN: I don't believe it was a spectator, no.