This photo went viral and had everyone debating what the ruling is, but it turns out the photo is not quite what it seems.
The R&A have weighed in on the amazing photograph first publicised by Mossman Golf Club that shows a golf ball overhanging the hole, precariously being held up by a small twig.
The R&A have ruled that the golf ball would be holed because a golf ball on the green can move with no penalty due to the removal of loose impediments. See Rule 1-4 and explanation below.
And while it doesn’t alter the interest in a bizarre, rough situation to find yourself in on the golf course it turns out that the situation was either taken on the practice putting green with a short flagstick, or photograph is fake with a bit of photoshopping going on.
A few people have picked up on the suspect photo on social media and it becomes more obvious once you take a look at the shadows, or the lack thereof for the flagstick. Or more to the point, that golf ball shadow isn’t right.
We’ve been assured by Mossman GC that the photo is not fake and Inside The Ropes have chatted to the person who took the photo, club pro Troy Cox. Cox never claims the photo was taken during the round and the bottom of the hole looks a lot like it is the bottom of the hole with a short practice green flagstick. This may explain the short, odd shadow to the right of the golf ball.
Nevertheless, here is the ruling by the R&A (FB post is below):
“It is a very rare situation, but The R&A received a similar question 30 years ago. The answer given, which we would still apply, was as follows: On the putting green, if the player’s removal of a loose impediment causes the ball to move, the ball is replaced without penalty. As replacement of the ball would be impossible in this case, in equity (Rule 1-4), the ball is considered to be holed with the previous stroke.”