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Rules of Golf: Rule 2 - Match Play

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The Official Rules of Golf appear on the About.com Golf site courtesy of the USGA, are used with permission, and may not be reprinted without the permission of the USGA.

2-1. General
A match consists of one side playing against another over a stipulated round unless otherwise decreed by the Committee.

In match play the game is played by holes.

Except as otherwise provided in the Rules, a hole is won by the side that holes its ball in the fewer strokes. In a handicap match, the lower net score wins the hole.

The state of the match is expressed by the terms: so many "holes up" or "all square," and so many "to play."

A side is "dormie" when it is as many holes up as there are holes remaining to be played.

2-2. Halved Hole
A hole is halved if each side holes out in the same number of strokes.

When a player has holed out and his opponent has been left with a stroke for the half, if the player subsequently incurs a penalty, the hole is halved.

2-3. Winner of Match
A match is won when one side leads by a number of holes greater than the number remaining to be played.

If there is a tie, the Committee may extend the stipulated round by as many holes as are required for a match to be won.

2-4. Concession of Match, Hole or Next Stroke
A player may concede a match at any time prior to the start or conclusion of that match.

A player may concede a hole at any time prior to the start or conclusion of that hole.

A player may concede his opponent’s next stroke at any time, provided the opponent’s ball is at rest. The opponent is considered to have holed out with his next stroke, and the ball may be removed by either side.

A concession may not be declined or withdrawn.

(Ball overhanging hole – see Rule 16-2)

2-5. Doubt as to Procedure; Disputes and Claims
In match play, if a doubt or dispute arises between the players, a player may make a claim. If no duly authorized representative of the Committee is available within a reasonable time, the players must continue the match without delay. The Committee may consider a claim only if it has been made in a timely manner and if the player making the claim has notified his opponent at the time (i) that he is making a claim or wants a ruling and (ii) of the facts upon which the claim or ruling is to be based.

A claim is considered to have been made in a timely manner if, upon discovery of circumstances giving rise to a claim, the player makes his claim (i) before any player in the match plays from the next teeing ground, or (ii) in the case of the last hole of the match, before all players in the match leave the putting green, or (iii) when the circumstances giving rise to the claim are discovered after all the players in the match have left the putting green of the final hole, before the result of the match has been officially announced.

A claim relating to a prior hole in the match may only be considered by the Committee if it is based on facts previously unknown to the player making the claim and he had been given wrong information (Rules 6-2a or 9) by an opponent. Such a claim must be made in a timely manner.

Once the result of the match has been officially announced, a claim may not be considered by the Committee, unless it is satisfied that (i) the claim is based on facts which were previously unknown to the player making the claim at the time the result was officially announced, (ii) the player making the claim had been given wrong information by an opponent and (iii) the opponent knew he was giving wrong information. There is no time limit on considering such a claim.

Note 1: A player may disregard a breach of the Rules by his opponent provided there is no agreement by the sides to waive a Rule (Rule 1-3).

Note 2: In match play, if a player is doubtful of his rights or the correct procedure, he may not complete the play of the hole with two balls.

2-6. General Penalty
The penalty for a breach of a Rule in match play is loss of hole except when otherwise provided.

©USGA, used with permission

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