In 2018 and before, there was a running joke among Rules Officials who spent any time officiating higher level events about players searching for their balls. They’d tell these tales at Rules Seminars across the land, and they’d typically involve a variation of “So, one day Adam Scott hits his ball in the weeds, and the marshal points to a general area, and so everyone in the gallery is traipsing around looking for the ball, and Adam Scott and his caddie are 30 yards that-a-ways ‘looking’ for his ball, when eventually…”.

The rest of the story is irrelevant, because the nugget is that Adam Scott and his caddie are “looking for his ball” nowhere near where the marshal or spectators indicated his ball was last seen.


Because in 2018 and before, if a player or his caddie accidentally moved the golf ball while searching for it, he was penalized one stroke under (2018) Rule 18-2 and required to replace the ball.

In 2019, under new Rule 7.4 “Ball Accidentally Moved in Trying to Find or Identify It,” there is no penalty if the ball is accidentally moved by the player, opponent or anyone else while trying to find or identify it.

The ball must still be replaced (and there are some details regarding whether or not the original location is precisely known), but there is no longer a penalty.

So, Adam Scott can actually look for his golf ball in the area in which it’s likely to be!