Paul Casey And The 14th Hole
On the 14th hole during the second round of the U.S. Open, Paul Casey hit a short pitch shot onto the green but well short of the hole. In disgust, he looked down and without realizing where his ball would come to rest tapped his divot with the club. Subsequently, the ball rolled back towards him and came to rest near the divot that he had tapped down. This action brought questions about whether or not Casey was in breach of Rule 1-2 (Exerting Influence on Ball).
The U.S. Open Rules Committee reviewed the situation on video and discussed it with the player before his scorecard was returned. The Committee determined that Casey had no intention to influence the position or movement of the ball; therefore, no penalty was assessed. This conclusion is supported by Decision 1-2/8 Player Presses Down Turf as Ball Is Rolling Towards Area, which states the following:
Q. A player’s ball lies through the green at the bottom of a slope. The player makes a stroke and sees that his ball is rolling back down the slope towards the spot from which he just played. Before the ball reaches that spot, the player presses down a raised piece of turf in that area with the intent of ensuring that his ball will not come to rest against the raised piece of turf or in the divot hole (emphasis added). Is the player in breach of Rule 1-2?
A. Yes, as he took an action with the intention to influence the movement of the ball.
If the player had not realized his ball was returning to the area, there would be no breach.