Friday, July 15, 2011
Mr Science expounds from our shared Calvinistic POV:
Did you see the Open Championship? On 18 today, Rickie Fowler hit it into the tent to the right of the fairway. Between the tent and the ropes is an area where the fans can stand, and two fences. The tent, of course (officially a "grandstand"), is an obstruction, but so is everything on the outside of the inner fence. So he got a free drop.
They had marked off 11 drop zones along the front of the grandstand, with a blue pole halfway between each pair of adjacent drop zones. The drop zones are mandatory, and you must drop in the closest one. Period. They forgot the usual "no nearer the hole". So Rickie advanced the ball about 20 more yards and took his free drop. The ball rolled even closer to the hole, and that was OK, too. (Azinger wanted to know if the extra 20 yards would count in his driving distance stats.)
He hit it to the left of the green, in a closely mown area. It's the British Open, so anyone within 60 yards of the hole and not in tall grass or a bunker uses his putter. Rickie had a sprinkler head in the way. Since the sprinkler was within two club lengths of the green, and his ball was within two club lengths of the sprinkler, he got a free drop. At the nearest point of relief. Not within a club length, just drop at the nearest point. He was ready to drop on the left side of the sprinkler, when he noticed that the cut of the rough was such that he would have less long grass to putt through, and more short grass to the right. He looked at the official, and pointed to the right side of the sprinkler, and that's where he ended up dropping. His putt missed the sprinkler by at least a foot, so I guess the nearest "point" is a pretty big thing, besides being of indeterminate location. The head rules official was in the announce booth throughout this, explaining it all, and showed no signs of embarrassment.
I suppose this is the difference between British and Scottish.