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I posted this on the PDGA Discussion board, but it is restricted as to who can post a reply, so I am posting it here. I am looking forward to a spirited discussion:


At my last tournament, on a shot off of the tee, the area in which my tee shot landed was obscured, and may or may not have been OB, we could not tell from the tee box. A player in my group suggested that I throw a provisional shot, but I declined (I turned out to be IB).

Question #1: Is this allowed under the Rules? 803.01C covers Provisional Throws, and under it is the following:

"...Provisional throws are appropriate in the following circumstances:

(1) To save time: A player may declare a provisional throw any time (a) the status of a disc cannot immediately be determined, and (b) the majority of the group agrees that
playing a provisional throw may save time, and (c) the original throw may be out of bounds, lost, or have missed a mandatory. When proceeding under this type of provisional the thrower shall complete the hole from whichever of the two throws is deemed by the group or an official as the appropriate lie according to the rules."

803.01C(1) seems to indicate that it is OK to do that, so the answer to Question #1 is "Yes" and I am cool with that, but that leads me to:

Question #2: Say I threw a provisional shot, because my disc may be OB. We get to where the disc is, and it is indeed OB. To summarize 803.09B, the player whose disc is OB has the option of rethrowing from the previous mark, or throw from a mark no farther than 1M from the last point the disc went OB.

So, if I threw the provisional shot, then got down to where the disc went OB, _in my interpretation of the Rules_, I would have the choice of taking my provisional shot or the "last IB" mark, and I would take the better of the two.

BUT, if I passed on the provisional shot, and got down and found my disc OB, my next lie would have to be the "last IB" mark, or, if I chose to do so, it would be from the tee box, and I would _have_ to take that shot. I don’t have the option of taking my rethrow from the tee _OR_ the “last IB” mark.

Does this make sense to you? It reads to me that I should _always_ take the provisional shot before I determine the status of my disc, because, if I don’t like how the provisional shot turned out, I can always take the “last IB” mark, but if I don’t take the provisional, I do not have the option of choosing between two shots – I _must_ take the “last IB” mark or I _must_ take where my rethrow lands, if I choose not to take the “last IB” mark.

Question #3: The last part of 803.01C(1) states, “When proceeding under this type of provisional the thrower shall complete the hole from whichever of the two throws is deemed by the group or an official as the appropriate lie according to the rules."

Well, what if they are _both_ appropriate lies? If a disc is lost, then you must rethrow, but if the disc is OB, and you threw a provisional throw before you determined its status, does one shot take precedence over another as far as determining which lie is “appropriate lie according to the rules”? So, does the last sentence of that section not apply to the situation I have described? Would someone help me reconcile this interpretation, or give me a better one that they can substantiate?

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Replies to This Discussion

Wow, great scenario Bill. I'm utterly baffled by this one. It seems a bit of a loophole if it is as you are describing, but in looking at the rules, I think I'd have to tenatively agree with you to always throw the provisional so that you have clearer options. I'll have to look into this one a little myself.
Once you throw the provisional if the disc was OB, you have already chosen your relief if the disc was indeed OB. There is no loop hole here.
Agreed with krupicka...the answer is that you made your choice by throwing the provisional in the first place. You don't get to wait until you determine the status of the original shot once the provisional is thrown. To throw a provisional, you need to have a specific reason. In this case, you're saying that it's "just in case" the original shot is OB. So what you are doing is saying that if the disc is found OB, then your subsequent shot (your third as it were) is the provisional. If the original shot is not OB, then the provisional is ignored since it is unnecessary (not the appropriate lie according to the rules).

I'm glad you decided not to throw a provisional on that particular hole. Nice move.
Sooo...the only time you'd EVER want to do this then would be if you think you MIGHT have gone into water, but cannot be sure, thus it would be a lost disc and a re-tee anyway, or if you crossed into OB right off the tee and you wouldn't want to throw from that spot and you weren't sure if the disc ever crossed back IB. I'll remember this the next time some plotting individual suggests a provisional!
I agree with Krupicka....You made the choice on the tee. There really is no loop hole here. No way are you be able to choose the best shot of the two after the fact....of course, if your original was found inbounds..the provisional is null and void.
Now, if you walked up and found that your disc was ob...then decided to go back and re-throw...fine, but your stuck with the outcome of that re-throw....you wouldn't have a choice in this case to take either lie.

I would agree that the PDGA should define the Provisional Shot rule better with some do and don't examples


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