Welcome to the Fourth Edition of Chips Shots, a weekly column in which I awkwardly attempt to blend golf and grammar into one bipartisan column. I know; it doesn’t make sense to me either. But let’s begin anyway.

When is a ball “holed?”

Please, no explicit jokes here.

The USGA should officially label this the Joe Daley rule. I’m paraphrasing, but rule 16.5 in the USGA rulebook deems that a ball is officially “holed” when it is at rest in the bottom of the cup.

So the ball needs to land in the hole and stay there. Not bounce out. Not hover halfway down. No, the ball must rest at the bottom of the cup.

Joe Daley knows about this rule well. In the final round of the 2002 Q School, Daley faced a 4-footer for double bogey on the 17th hole. At 16 under, Daley was a few shots within the eventual cut line–the glorious few who receive their Tour cards for the next year.

Daley stroked the putt firmly, and the ball disappeared into the hole. What happened next can only be described as one of the strangest incidents in golf history. The ball bounced out of the cup and landed just above the lip.

Apparently, the cup was loose and not firmly set at the bottom, but that didn’t matter. Daley tapped the next putt in for a triple bogey and ended up missing the number by one shot.

You can’t make this stuff up. At one of golf’s most pressure-packed events, after playing spectacularly for 106 of 108 holes, with his Tour Card in reach, this poor guy has a 4-foot putt roll in and bounce out of the next to last hole. Then he misses qualifying by a shot. Unbelievable.

So that’s the Joe Daley rule: the ball needs to rest at the bottom of the cup. Read John Feinstein’s fabulous book, Tales from Q School, for more detail on this strange incident.

Now, naturally, let’s talk more about apostrophes.

Apostrophe Abuse

Last week, I took a break from my riveting apostrophe discussion to briefly examine a few of the basics of semicolon usage. Don’t fall asleep quite yet. Stay with me.

Today, I was planning to write a little about the proper usage of which and that. But I stumbled across this wonderful website, Apostrophe Abuse, and I became completely distracted.

Much like The Blog of Unnecessary Quotations—one of my recommended links—the Apostrophe Abuse blog teaches us by illustrating how NOT to use some of our favorite punctuation marks.

If failure is the greatest teacher, then why not learn about apostrophes by seeing some of the wretched signs, billboards, t-shirts, and ad copy created by people just like you and me? Well, kind of like you and me.

So, if you’re bored or need a quick laugh, head over to Apostrophe Abuse.

But if you can’t seem to quell your primordial desire to understand the differences between which and that, well I have good news—that’s next week’s topic. Don’t get too excited.

Advertisements