Ball declared lost then found prior to playing another ball

Situation:

Recently during a tournament, a player hit his tee shot into an area of the course containing tall, thick grass. After searching for less than five minutes (the allotted time allowed to search for a lost ball), the player declared his ball lost and went back to re-tee. During his walk back, still inside the five minutes allowed, his playing competitor found the original ball in a very unfavorable position. The player stated he had declared the ball lost and decided to hit another ball, hoping for a better outcome.

Ruling:

A player cannot render a ball lost by declaration-see Definition of “Lost Ball.” The player’s original ball is the ball in play-see Definition of “Ball in Play.” If the player decides not to play the original ball due to its unfavorable location, the player must proceed under Rule 28; Ball Unplayable.

 

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