Scottie Scheffler: “Pine Straw” at the Masters

I’ve been asked a few questions about the rulings Scottie Scheffler received during the Masters last weekend.

At the 18th on Saturday he took an unplayable lie from deep in a bush after his drive. He then asked for confirmation that he could remove the pine needles that Augusta put under the trees before dropping. Following some uncertainty it was agreed that he could – the pine needles are “Loose Impediments” (unattached natural objects) within the rules and you can remove these from your “Relief Area” before you drop the ball into it.

However, please remember that:

  • you can’t remove these loose impediments if you are replacing your ball on a spot.
  • if your ball moves while removing a loose impediment you will get a 1 stroke penalty and you must replace your ball (Rule 15.1b)

He also got a very favourable move from deep in the trees early in his round on Sunday. He was given “Line of Sight” relief from a very permanent looking scoreboard. This must have been defined as a “Temporary Immovable Obstruction” (TIO) as you do not get Line of Sight relief from normal (permanent) Immovable Obstructions (artificial items that you can not easily move). Once you do have a TIO in the way of a reasonable stroke towards the hole then the tour local rules allow for either side relief. More often than not this will lead to a favourable outcome for the player.

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