Rules of Golf explained: Can you stand behind an opponent to watch their putt? | National Club Golfer

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Hughie Thomas emailed me to ask: “Is it illegal for an opponent to stand behind a player while they are putting in order to see the break of the putt?”

He adds: “My question was triggered by one of my opponents in our group standing behind me to try and get the line on my putt. I stood up straight and motioned him away from behind me and I even commented to him, ‘Not only is it illegal, but it is rude.’  He responded with ‘It is not illegal, I checked.’  

Rules of Golf explained: Our expert says…

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news Hughie but, though it might feel wrong, there is nothing in the Rules to stop a fellow competitor, or opponent, standing wherever they like – even if that means they’re behind you tracking the exact line of your putt.

Rule 10.2b (4), which covers the restrictions on a caddie standing behind a player, only extends to partners, team players and their bag carriers under Rules 22, 23 and 24.

Rule 1.2a, which looks at standards of player conduct, expects all players to “play in the spirit of the game” and one of the examples given is not distracting the play of another player.

Even then there is no penalty under the Rules for failing to act in this way.

A referee friend of mine suggests an avenue would be to use a Code of Conduct. It could legislate for “being disrespectful of other players” but only insofar as penalising a distracting player for refusing to move when asked. But there’s nothing that actually stops them standing there in the first place.
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By MSc(Econ) Lassi Pensikkala - International News Curator: Travel, Golf, and Business

Lassi Pensikkala is the creator of He writes regularly providing thought leadership on topics related to Travel, Golf, Business, Health, and Lifestyle. You can follow him on Twitter @amerexperience or connect on Linkedin. You can read his travel and golf news in Google News, and business and travel magazines on Flipboard @amerexperience Expertise: International Travel And Business Expert Creator of - Education: Studied International Business in Business School of Turku Finland, and Economy, Psychology and Sociology at the University of Hamburg graduated as MSc(Econ) - Language skills: Multilingual - English, German, Spanish, Swedish and Finnish - Life philosophy: 1959 and the 60’s were the golden times of Rock’n Roll, student movements, and first flight to moon. The nordic people were free to travel in the Scandinavian countries including Finland. No passports or travel documents were needed. The freedom still today is the most important for the Scandinavians from that epoch. Freedom is to travel, learn to know new countries and other languages, and meet different people and cultures. He wishes the new generations would have the same possibilities experiencing all that what makes you feel free, and building a strong personality. -

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