A Fourball is one of the competitions used the Ryder Cup and other Match Play events. The four players (two on each team) play their own ball throughout. The better score on a hole from the two players on a team is compared to the better score from the other team with the result being a win/loss/tie for the team. Since the better score is used for the team, the other score doesn’t matter - it is ignored.
So my question is, on the green could one player manipulate his putting to show his partner the line?
For example the partners arrive at the green with one having taken three shots and the other two. The three-shot guy will attempt to sink his putt but if he misses the questionable strategy kicks in - he now takes a putt or two to get behind his partners ball, and the next putt by him will show his partner the line. In fact if the first show-the-line putt misses, he does it all over again until his ball eventually goes in.
A ridiculous situation, I know, but what rule would prevent this?
If I am reading the rules right, nothing prevents this, except that, in match play, the other side may concede a putt at any time, after which the ball has to be picked up - otherwise, the partner’s score cannot be counted for that hole.
Is there no rule for the order?
The ball furthest from the hole must be putted first though I have seen players tap in after a near miss without waiting while others putt so I guess it can be waived somehow.
Maybe the delay of game rule would apply. Also, golf has rules about playing with integrity. Maybe the judges would say that kind of play is not in the spirit of the game. A player trying to position their ball behind a teammate’s ball is going to end up several strokes over par on that hole. It’s not like they are sacrificing strokes in order to get an unplayable ball to a better location.
I’m relying on memory but I think:
The furthest ball means that team is “away” and will putt. Note I said team, and now either player of that team, regardless of who is closer, can start putting.
A player who has putted and missed can either mark their ball or continue putting.
In general, caddies (and thus your playing partner in Four Ball) are not allowed to stand behind a player as he putts, so that would somewhat limit the efficacy of “learning the line”. Beyond there, there is nothing specifically that disallows your described actions, but, as That Don Guy pointed out, the other team is allowed to concede any putt, thereby forcing the person to pick up their ball before putting. So, if one player spends 3 strokes getting into position, he will have to pick up the ball before taking the putt that shows the line.
You couldn’t do that. It’s just not cricket.
Doesn’t this prevent the strategy as outlined in the OP? There’s no method for the one player to get his ball back into a position that’s useful for showing a line?
As I said above, a player who has putted and missed has the option to continue putting regardless of who is away.
Unless the putt is conceded.
According to Rule 23.6, if your putt is conceded you aren’t allowed to putt it anyway.
"You and your partner may play in the order your side considers best. This means that when it is your turn to play, either you or your partner may play next.
Exception – Continuing Play of Hole After Stroke Conceded in Match Play:
You must not continue play of a hole after your next stroke has been conceded if this would help your partner.
If you do so, your score for the hole stands without penalty, but your partner’s score for the hole cannot count for your side."
Ah, there we go. Check the rules, what an idea!!