Bryson DeChambeau tries to persuade Rules Officials that his ball is in bounds.
Unsurprisingly, the Rules Officials knew the definitions better than him. The Out of Bounds line is the straight line between the course-side points of the fence posts or stakes at ground level. This means that the fence itself (or the stakes) is out of bounds. It only needs a part of the ball to be on the course side of this line, but Bryson’s ball appears to be resting against the opposite side of the fence.
Some other points to note:
- If a ball is in bounds, it is permissible within the Rules to stand out of bounds to play the stroke – so he could have “hopped over the fence” to play it. However, as the fence is a “boundary object” he would not be allowed to move it.
- We can’t see the line of play but his first drop was out of a red penalty area and he has dropped it as close to this area as possible – so close that he is standing within the penalty area. Taking lateral relief, he would have had 2 club lengths (not nearer the hole) from the point where his ball last crossed the edge of this penalty area so could have dropped further away if that would have been helpful.
- When he dropped his provisional, the reference point is where he played from and the relief area is within one club length (and not nearer the hole) than this point. So he could have dropped still further from the penalty areas (NB one the commentators I have heard was unsure if he was allowed to drop about a foot away from where he had played his previous stroke).
- When he dropped his subsequent provisionals the reference point is always the location of the previous stroke – so he could have tracked even further away from the penalty with each drop.