Explanation of “Fairly Taking His Stance”

Executive Director Jeff Rivard was a Rules of Golf official during the USGA Senior Open, July 12-15, played at Indianwood G&CC, Lake Orion, MI.

During the second round after his opening drive on the first hole, Sweden’s Mikael Hogberg sought Rivard for a ruling. His ball was under a pine tree bough, and Hogberg wanted to approach the ball from the back side to play his stroke. In so doing, he would move the bough and could gain an advantage by getting the branch out of his way.  Relief was not permitted as Rivard ruled, so Hogberg played his stroke approaching his ball from the ‘least intrusive’ angle. He hit the shot on his knees.

Decision 13-2/1 is called Explanation of “Fairly Taking His Stance.” The Decisions states in part that the ” . . . use of ‘fairly’ is intended to limit the player to what is reasonably necessary to take a stance for the selected stroke without unduly improving the position of his ball, his lie, area of intended stance or swing or line of play.” The Decision also says “The player is not entitled to a normal stance or swing.  He must accommodate the situation in which the ball is found and take a stance as normal as the circumstances permit.”

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