Two different golf rules for different players

Upon finding his ball against the boundary fence (pictured) to the right of the 18th fairway at the Vidanta Vallarta course, Sami Välimäki seemed mostly relieved not to have to play a fourth shot from his provisional ball

by Andrea Gussoni
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Two different golf rules for different players
© Getty Images Sport - Stuart Franklin / Staff

Two different rules for different players? Upon finding his ball against the boundary fence (pictured) to the right of the 18th fairway at the Vidanta Vallarta course, Sami Välimäki seemed mostly relieved not to have to play a fourth shot from his provisional ball.

So much so that the Finn and his caddie, Frenchman Basile Dalberto, may have forgotten that the same mishap had befallen South Korean player S.H Kim on Thursday, and he was allowed to play his second shot from the rough by dropping without penalty.

Golf, rules

A not-so-clear rule Indeed, on Sunday, while contending for victory in the Mexico Open against American Jake Knapp, the native of Nokia, Finland, didn't think to ask the referee for a "free drop," arguing that he wanted to play a shot to reposition himself on the other side of the wire fence and that it obstructed his swing.

A rule point used by S.H Kim that allowed him to extricate himself without harm from a position entirely similar on Thursday. According to PGA Tour officials, however, both Välimäki and Kim were confronted with Rule 16.1 below.

16.1 Abnormal Course Conditions (Including Immovable Obstructions) This Rule addresses free relief allowed for interference from animal holes, ground under repair, immovable obstructions, or temporary water: All these are covered by the term abnormal course conditions, but each has a distinct definition.

This Rule does not provide free relief for movable obstructions (a different type of free relief is allowed under Rule 15.2a) or boundary objects or integral objects (no free relief is allowed). No discussion, no salvation In the second paragraph, it clearly states that no free relief is granted for "boundary objects." So what immovable obstruction was it in the case of S.H Kim on Thursday? Nevertheless, the Korean managed to sway the referee's decision in his favor, which was not the case for Välimäki, who didn't even attempt to discuss this possibility with the official.

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