Sand and loose soil are loose impediments on the putting green, but not elsewhere. Loose soil has the same status of sand, both on the putting green and off it
“I don’t think that you can brush sand off the fringe” The words spoken quietly by Luke Donald (right) to fellow competitor, Rory McIlroy (left) , on the 9th hole of their second round in the Abu Dhabi Championship. Rory’s ball was lying about 6 feet from the putting surface, with a lot of sand between his ball and the hole, when he bent down and swept some sand from his intended line of play.
To his credit he realised straight away that Luke was right and that he had therefore incurred a penalty of two strokes. Recounting the incident, which came as he was forcing his way back into the leading positions, McIlroy said; “I hit my ball pin-high left on the fringe. There was so much sand in my line, I didn’t even think about it. I just went down and brushed the sand. It came to me right away.
I’ll definitely not do it again. It was just a mental error.” McIlroy took his infringement on the chin and characteristically did not bear any grudge against Luke Donald; “I’m sure Luke was put in an awkward position there, but he had to say it. If I was in his position, I would have said the same.” He will probably not make this mistake again. The way that many golfers learn the Rules, and remember them is when they commit a breach and it costs them a penalty.
Decision 13-2/11, Removing Sand or Loose Soil from Dropping Area: Question: Through the green, may a player remove or brush away sand or loose soil from the area in which he is preparing to drop a ball? Answer: No. Rule 13-2 prohibits improving the area in which a ball is to be dropped by removing sand or loose soil. Sand and loose soil are loose impediments only on the putting green. www.RhodesRulesSchool.com