1. Is it OK to have your caddie hold the flagstick high above the hole so it can be seen from a blind spot?
Gary Player had his caddie, Rabbit Dyer, do this in the 1989 RJR Championship. Rule 17-1 allows it.
2. In strokeplay, if you thump the sand in disgust with your club after failing to get out of a bunker, is there no penalty because you weren’t swinging at the ball when you struck the sand?
Under Rule 13-4, touching the sand with your clubhead is a two-stroke penalty, even when done in anger. Luke Donald suffered this fate in round one on No.9 at the 2014 Masters. The penalty gave him an 8, and a day later he missed the cut by a shot.
3. Not searching for a ball, a player’s caddie accidentally kicks the opponent’s ball. Because it was hidden by a leaf, is it “no harm, no foul”?
No. Patty Sheehan’s caddie kicked Alison Nicholas’ ball in the 1994 Solheim Cup singles, causing a one-stroke penalty (Rule 18-3b). Sheehan lost the hole and the match.
4. If you put a tee in the ground to mark where your ball last crossed the margin of a hazard, is it a penalty if you leave it there while playing your shot after taking a drop?
A mark used in connection with Rule 26-1b, which describes how to drop from a water hazard, can stay grounded, as Jack Nicklaus did in the 1991 Memorial.
5. When two players mistakenly hit each other’s ball, does the penalty fall on the first golfer to err?
It’s double trouble. In 1995 at San Diego, in round two on their 10th hole, Phil Mickelson and Brad Faxon each teed off with Titleist 1s. Lefty got to a ball first in the fairway. Each hit to the green, and the error was noticed.(Faxon played Tour Balata.) They had to replay their shots from the correct spots and take two-stroke penalties (15-3b).
6. When a ball at rest on the green is struck by a shot from off the green, the struck ball can be put in its original spot. Can you place the ball in motion where it would have stopped if unimpeded?
No. In the 1994 Masters, Loren Roberts was allowed to replace his ball where it was on 18 (Rule 18-5, Rule 20-3ciii), but Ernie Els had to play his ball from where it came to rest (Rule 19-5a).
7. If you hit your tee shot on a par-3 to the edge of but not overhanging the cup then mark, clean, and replace it, is it a hole-in-one or a birdie if it falls in?
An ace! A ball replaced that remains at rest for a few seconds and falls in is considered holed out (Decision 20-3d/1), as Cindy Rarick discovered in the 1988 Santa Barbara Open.
8. If a dog runs onto the green as a golfer is preparing to putt and swats the ball away, can the player putt from where it comes to rest?
You’d do what Paul Casey did at the 2012 Dunhill Links and replace the ball without penalty (Rule 18-1).
9. When a golfer is courteous enough to move his marker from someone’s putting line, shouldn’t he get the same courtesy and be reminded to move his coin back before putting?
Courtesy can be contagious, but when Dale Douglass failed to move his marker back in a 1987 Chrysler Cup Four-Ball match, it cost him and Gene Littler the hole to Player and Bob Charles (Rule 20-7b).