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If a player’s ball at rest is lifted or moved under a Rule that requires the ball to be replaced, it will always be placed on a spot, never dropped. This is the effect of new Rule 14.2c and it applies to any ball at rest, anywhere off the putting green.

If the exact original spot is not known, the player will be required to replace the ball on its estimated spot. This includes placing it on, under or against any attached natural objects that the ball had been at rest on, under or against.

Why the change?

A fundamental principle of golf is to play the ball as it lies. So when a ball at rest is moved it should be returned to and played from its original spot or as close to that original spot as possible.

But when a ball is accidentally moved, the player may not know the exact original spot. By requiring the player to replace the ball on the estimated spot will help make sure the ball is played from as close as possible to its original spot and from the same or almost the same lie.