Rules Guy: Did this match-play agreement with my opponent disqualify both of us?
In the Players Edition of the Rules of Golf, Rule 3.2d, “Your responsibilities in match play,” it says: “If you and your opponent deliberately agree to ignore a breach or penalty you both know applies, you are both disqualified.” My question is what are we disqualified from — the hole, the round? We play in a friendly but competitive league, and I’ve seen these things happen often. —Jim Rutherford, Phillips, Wis.
Jim, you are forbidden from picking up a golf club ever again! Just joshing. Players who knowingly flout the Rules of Golf are flogged with a 1-iron to their posterior until they can explain Rule 12.2b(3). Still joshing! You are disqualified from the competition; whether the league wants to impose further sanctions outside the Rules of Golf is a private matter the Rules don’t delve into. There is one relevant exception that Rules Guy finds fascinating: In match play, you are free to overlook an opponent’s breach of the rules. You’re playing Frankie Foot-Wedge and want to keep his repeated transgressions to yourself? That’s fine, since you’re potentially hurting only yourself or your team; this is not considered waiving a Rule of Golf. What you can’t do is make your opponent aware that a penalty should be applied and then not do so — once you’re both aware, the penalty is obligatory. So with apologies to that persistent Mercedes advertisement on golf telecasts, either mum’s the word or it isn’t.
Got a question about the Rules? Ask the Rules Guy! Send your queries, confusions and comments to email@example.com. We promise he won’t throw the book at you.