What A Caddie May Do For A Player

Playing By The Rules According to the definition  in the Rules of Golf, a caddie is one who assists the player in accordance with the Rules, which may include carrying or handling the player’s clubs during play.  Caddies are covered under Rule 6 The Player, and most specifically under Rule 6 – 4 Caddie.

While the Rules do not expressly so state, the following are examples of duties the caddie may perform for the player without the authority of the player:

1.)    Search for the players ball as provided in Rule 12 – 1.

2.)    Place the players clubs in a hazard – Exception 1 under Rule 13 – 4.

3.)    Repair old hole plugs and ball marks – Rule 16 – 1a(vi) and Rule 16 – 1c.

4.)    Remove loose impediments on the line of putt or elsewhere – Rules 16 – 1a and 23 – 1.

5.)    Mark the position of a ball without lifting it Rule 20 – 1.

6.)    Clean the players ball – Rule 21.

7.)    Remove movable obstructions – Rule 24 – 1.

The player may have a caddie carry his clubs and have additional people carry items other than clubs like a rain suit, cap, umbrella or food and beverage.  The additional people would be considered outside agencies, and any items carried by them would also be considered outside agencies while in their possession.  However, the Committee may prohibit the use of such people in the conditions of a competition.

An interesting caddie/player incident on this year’s PGA Tour took place in the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.  A television viewer called PGA officials after they thought they saw Nick Watney’s caddie, Chad Reynolds, testing the putting surface of the seventh green.  Tournament Officials reviewed replays and what they saw was Reynolds hands hovering over the grass, but his hands did not touch the surface. Had Reynolds hand touched the green, it would have violated Rule 16 – 1d Testing Surface and  Watney would have received a two stroke penalty.  Lucky for Watney and Reynolds, the replays proved what they had said all along, that Reynolds never touched the surface of the green.

Frank Guastella, PGA Rules Official Michigan Section PGA
Staff Writer, Mike Fay Golf
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