Doral golf playoff - marking balls overnight

Yesterday 2 golfers - Furyk and Hoch - were involved in a playoff. They had both hit to the green. Furyk was about 6-8 feet away, and Hoch was maybe 10’ out. Hoch, who was away, complained that it was too dark for him to accurately read the putt. The playoff was postponed until 8:00 Eastern time this a.m.

My question is, how did they mark the location of their balls? Generally golf courses cut the greens first thing in the morning before play. And I’m sure pros would not play on greens that had not been cut.

However they marked the balls would have had to be in a way that did not disturb the mower, or that would not be disturbed BY the mower. So it doesn’t seem coins would work great. And given the anal rules concerning precision replacement of a marked ball, inability to fix minor green imperfections such as spike marks, etc., it seems the officials would be very interested in the balls being replaced as precisely as possible.

Something with cameras or lasers maybe? Or just intense visual scrutiny? You CAN move your mark laterally, to get it out of your opponent’s line. So they could have mowed the green with the golfers present. They could have moved their ballmarks when the mower came to that precise strip, and then replaced them.

I’m assuming the club provided security to make sure some joker didn’t move the marks overnight?

For that matter, how do they mark balls elsewhere on the course when a round is called on account of weather?

BTW - the playoff has ended. This link discusses who won.

The announcers mentioned that the golfers marked their balls with golf tees.

I would guess that the green either wasn’t mowed or the marks were carefully replaced, though I’m leaning toward the former.

You may have noticed during a round when someone hits a ball in the rough a marshall will come up and place a flag marker near the ball (the sort used by landscapers). They’ll use these on stoppage of play, some will mark on the flag with an indelible pen the players name or use color coded flags.

Thanks, BF.

Zoff - I dunno. I have a hard time imagining a pro playing on uncut greens - especially with a tourn on the line. Heck, during the 36 hole matchplay champ they cut them twice the same day!

I thought golfers used those thingys that look sort of like a tee but have a flat top and when installed are flush to the ground. IANAG, but it seems like those things would work fine and you could mow over them, too.

“I thought golfers used those thingys that look sort of like a tee but have a flat top and when installed are flush to the ground. IANAG, but it seems like those things would work fine and you could mow over them, too.”

IAA(bad)G. Those are called (cleverly enough) ‘ball markers’ and they don’t go in very deep - maybe 1/2 inch. I suspect a mower would pop it right out.

I did see it on TV when they terminated play yesterday, and recall the announcer saying something about marking with a tee, although I couldn’t tell whether they were saying it was the right or wrong thing to do.

I did wonder if they had to post somebody there all night to make sure no one moved the markers. The fans were pretty upset about the delay, so it might have been a wise precaution to take.

It’s certainly not ideal. But I’m pretty certain that they marked the spots with a tee, so there are two options:

  1. Leave the tees and don’t mow the green. There wouldn’t be significant growth overnight and it’s only a 3-foot putt for both; or
  2. Move the tees and mow. But if you move them, you lose track of where the tees were unless you make a dent or some permanent mark that could alter the course of the ball.

Given those two options, my guess would be they’d go with number 1.

I also briefly cruised around in the USGA rules and they had relues about what to do if you put a marker on the green to abandon play and the marker is blown or washed off the green. That seems to indicate that they anticipate the “mark and leave” scenario.

I know I’m speculating which might not be the best idea in GQ, but I think that’s what they did.

Here is the relevant section from the Decisions of the Rules of Golf:

Q. While play is suspended due to a rainstorm, a player’s ball-marker, which was made of a light-weight material, is moved off a putting green by wind or casual water. What is the procedure?

A. Under Rule 6-8d(iii), the player must place a ball or ball-marker on the spot from which it was moved. If this spot is not determinable, Rule 20-3c would apply.
The fact that the player used a light-weight ball-marker does not affect the result - see Decision 20-1/18.


Rule 20-3c boils down to “make a good guess”

Decision 20-1/18 is

The Rules of Golf are nothing if not arcane.

BTW, most golfers mark with a coin, not one of those official ball markers. In fact, which coin is used is subject to much ritual. For example, one golfer, I forget who, uses a coin with a date something like 1964 (to help him shoot a “64” or something).

I’d bet they just go out and make the puts w/o mowing. If they die this hole, you can bet the rest of teh greens will be freshly mowed (mown?).

“tie” this hole.

They could have mowed and let them move the markers. For instance, in accordance with the rules of golf, you place your marker and pick up your ball. If you need to move your marker, you can place the toe of the putter over the mark, line your putter up with some object (tree, sprinkler head off the green), then place the marker behind the heel of the putter. When it’s your turn to putt, you reverse the process.

I taped the ending and the greens were mowed before the playoff started. Nobody said so, but I would expect there to be a PGA tournament official overseeing the mowing on all greens involved in the playoff. And I’ll bet the players caddies or another representative were there too. The difference in prize money was about $360,000.

It used to take me nearly a year to earn that kind of money.