The Pros Getting It Wrong on the Green (sometimes); Paul Casey and a Caterpillar, Matthew Southgate and a Leaf

Paul Casey

Paul Casey won his 14th European Tour title with a one stroke victory at the Porsche European Open in Germany.

However he could have been made to re-take a putt during the second round after his ball hit an insect.The Englishman putted over a bug during the Porsche European Open and learnt all about a rather obscure Rule of Golf. 

The 42-year-old holed the putt but it rolled over a tiny caterpillar, which is against the Rules if Casey knew it was there.However, as the bug was so small he had no idea and the putt stood.

This is a complicated and part of Rule 11.1-b along with Exception 2 and then a clarification.

The Rule is as follows –

Rule 11.1-B Exception 2 -When Ball Played from Putting Green Accidentally Hits Any Person, Animal or Movable Obstruction (Including another Ball in Motion) on Putting Green: The stroke does not count and the original ball or another ball must be replaced on its original spot.

However, as Casey did not know the bug was there, this takes into account a clarification.

The clarification says it is: “to be applied using the “known or virtually certain” standard. Therefore, if there is knowledge or conclusive evidence that the ball played from the putting green accidentally hit a person, animal or movable obstruction on the putting green, the stroke does not count.”

There is also a clarification that confirms that insects and bugs are indeed animals.

However as Casey didn’t have any knowledge or conclusive evidence at the time that he was putting over the insect; he did not have to replay his putt.

“I putted the ball, when I looked up the ball was going at the hole, just crept in left edge,” Casey said.“And he’s [Rules Official] just showed me the video, it actually ran straight over the poor bug, hopefully I didn’t hurt him.

“If you knowingly hit an animal, and a bug is considered an animal, during the course of a stroke certainly on the putting green, you have to replay it.I didn’t knowingly hit it, so I’m alright but yeah almost a Rules infraction and I had no clue.”

“Ants and bugs and beetles, we’ve got to protect them.”

A Ball Deflected on the Putting Green

Matthew Southgate was lining up a putt on a Tour event and just as he tapped his ball, a little leaf blew over and hit it. That sent the putt to the right of the hole and left poor Southgate feeling frustrated … and who could blame him?

But here’s what’s worse: Southgate then immediately finished the hole. And that turned out to violate the Rules.

 Rule 19-1b:

If a player’s ball in motion after a stroke on the putting green is deflected or stopped by, or comes to rest in or on, any moving or animate outside agency, except a worm, insect or the like, the stroke is canceled. The ball must be replaced and replayed.

Southgate didn’t replace or replay the shot and finished his round, so he was given a four-stroke penalty — two for violating Rule 19-1b and a pair for signing a wrong scorecard.