Make Sure You Read This If You Have Ever Hit it From One Bunker to Another…Yeah That Would Be You

During a recent tournament, Stewart Cink’s ball came to rest just outside a fairway bunker. His stance was in the bunker. From there he hit a shot that came to rest in another bunker. He or his caddie raked his footprints in the bunker. On Sunday he was supposedly talking with Zach Johnson about the situation and Zach told him he shouldn’t have done that. Cink went to a Rules Official and was DQ’ed for failing to include the 2 stroke penalty under Rule 13-4 for testing a “similar hazard”.

Rule 13-4 says: “Except as provided in the Rules, before making a stroke at a ball that is in a hazard … the player must not:

a. Test the condition of the hazard or any similar hazard; …”

Since his ball was now in one bunker and he hadn’t made a stroke at it yet, he or his caddie were not allowed to rake the other bunker as that is considered testing.

This is the second time that this has come up in the last year and many people, including myself, feel it is harsh. It might change, but the USGA and R&A need time to finalize a decision that will deal with this and not open other holes in the rules.

By: John Vander Borght