Stymie

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For other uses, see Stymie (disambiguation).

A stymie refers to an archaic rule in the game of golf.

In singles match play when one player's ball blocked the path of another player's ball on the green, but were not within six inches of each other, the obstructing player's ball was not lifted.

Instead the player who was further away from the hole had to attempt to slice or draw his putt around the obstacle ball. Sometimes a player would even attempt to chip his ball over the opponent's ball into the cup.

If the player failed, even hitting their opponent's ball, his next shot would have to be played from where his ball now lay. If contact happened, the player's opponent, when it was his turn to play, had the choice to take his putt from his ball's original position or its new lie.

Likewise if the player's ball knocked the obstructing ball into the cup, his opponent was considered to have holed out.

In 1920, the United States Golf Association tested a modified stymie rule for one year, allowing a stymied player to concede the opponent's next putt. The next change to the stymie rule came in 1938, when the USGA began a two-year trial in which an obstructing ball within 6 inches (15 cm) of the hole could be moved regardless of the distance between the balls. The USGA made this rule permanent in 1941. However, during this time, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews never modified the stymie rule.

The stymie was finally removed from the rules effective in 1952, when the USGA and R&A established a joint set of rules.