Ball Dropped Under Water Hazard Rule With Knowledge or Virtual Certainty; Original Ball Then Found
Question: A player’s ball was struck towards a water hazard. It is known or virtually certain that the player’s ball is in the water hazard, and he drops a ball under Rule 26-1b. Before he plays the dropped ball, his original ball is found within the five-minute search period. What is the ruling?
Answer: As it was known of virtually certain that the ball was in the water hazard when the player put the substituted ball into play, that ball was correctly substituted and he may not play the original ball.
If the original ball was found in the water hazard and this discovery affects the reference point for proceeding under Rule 26-1, resulting in the substituted ball having been dropped in a wrong place, the player must correct the error under Rule 20-6. The player must proceed in accordance with any applicable options under Rule 26-1 with respect to the correct reference point (see Decision 20-6/2 and 26-1/16). Otherwise, Rule 20-6 does not apply and the player must continue with the dropped ball. In either case, the player incurs a penalty of one stroke under Rule 26-1.
In the unlikely event that the original ball was found outside the water hazard, the player must continue with the dropped ball under penalty of one stroke (Rule 26-1).