David Wannerton was in my four ball at La Quinta and the following happenned.
David pitched into a green and the ball rested on the back of the pitch mark. David marked the ball, lifted and cleaned it and repaired the pitch mark. On trying to replace the ball it would not stay as placed and kept rolling down the slope towards the hole. David tried at least three times to place the ball. In order to continue play we ruled that he should move the ball the minimum amount in either direction no closer to the hole until he found a place where the ball could be placed and stay in place without penalty.
I forwarded the scenario to the R&A for a ruling.
Their answer was
Thank you for your email and query on the Rules of Golf.
It seems you proceeded correctly as per Rule 20-3d copied below. When it failed to come to rest after attempting to place and then replace the ball it should be placed at the nearest spot where it stays at rest not nearer the hole.
I hope this information is helpful.
The R&A, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, KY16 9JD
Tel: +44 (0) 1334 460000
Fax: ++44 (0) 1334 460003
Click here if you are interested in learning more about the Rules of Golf via the Rules Academy.”
So we got it right!!!
Here’s the whole rule!!!!
“20-3d. Ball Fails to Come to Rest on Spot
If a ball when placed fails to come to rest on the spot on which it was
placed, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced. If it still fails
to come to rest on that spot:
(i) except in a hazard, it must be placed at the nearest spot where
it can be placed at rest that is not nearer the hole and not in a
(ii) in a hazard, it must be placed in the hazard at the nearest spot
where it can be placed at rest that is not nearer the hole.
If a ball when placed comes to rest on the spot on which it is placed,
and it subsequently moves, there is no penalty and the ball must be
played as it lies, unless the provisions of any other Rule apply.
*PENALTY FOR BREACH OF RULE 20-1, 20-2 or 20-3:
Match play – Loss of hole; Stroke play – Two strokes.
*If a player makes a stroke at a ball substituted under one of these Rules
when such substitution is not permitted, he incurs the general penalty
for breach of that Rule, but there is no additional penalty under that
Rule. If a player drops a ball in an improper manner and plays from
a wrong place or if the ball has been put into play by a person not
permitted by the Rules and then played from a wrong place, see Note 3
to Rule 20-7c.”
So there you are