Inflexible Golfing Rule: NCAA Golfer Has to Jump into a Pond to Find His Ball

June 02, 2017admin

As anon-profit association, The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) not only regulates athletes of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations, and individuals, but also organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and helps more than 450,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports. Therefore, each year NCAA attracts a lot of attention.

This year, the college golf player David Wicks unavoidably hits the headline as his video of looking for the golf ball in the water during the tournament spreads on the internet.

Things goes like this:

On the fourth hole during the final round of the men’s D-1 Baton Rouge regional, while senior David Wicks is marking his 3-foot putt for par and waiting for the other 2 group players to finish out, he accidently drops his ball into the water hazard on the left side of the green. What a stroke of bad luck!

You may think it is not a big deal. However, the question is:

According to Rule 15(1), 16(1)(b), and related decisions in 15-2/1 of USGA Rulebook, a player can only replace a ball in the middle of a hole when it’s damaged beyond the point of playability. When a ball is inadvertently dropped or tossed in a pond and lost, the player has to find the said ball.

As a result, this University Star can either jump into the pond to retrieve his ball, or take a two-stroke penalty. And you know, this match is an NCAA regional to advance to Nationals and compete for a national title on the final nine, and the NCAA championship berth was on the line. So, whether David Wicks is willing or not, he has to dive into the muddy pond half-naked to look for his ball.

“I was determined to redeem myself,” Wicks says. “I was worried that everyone would remember my college career as the guy who lost us a spot at nationals. That wasn’t the way I was going to go out.”

Wicks has to take the penalty for a double-bogey 6, since he does not find his ball back. In fact, he found about 30 balls but none of them were his.

Don’t be sad! We have the good news:

Despite the two more pars, David Wicks recovers with five straight pars to end his round, helping the Dolphins force a sudden-death playoff with Northwestern. And Jacksonville is qualified for its first NCAA final!

However, after reading the news and watching the video of Wicks bobbing for golf balls, many people are complaining about the inflexible and dumb golfing rules, regarding some of the rules as stupid and weird.

Besides, some other people point out: for an NCAA event, Rules committees and officials on-site at the championship have some of that latitude to make one-off decisions.

Golf is a joyful sport and entertainment that is more and more popular throughout the whole world. We hope The Rules of Golf can be simplified and some of these controversial issues can be greatly improved in the near future.

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