We know that until April 8th, this
action resulted in a two-stroke penalty for a breach of Rule 13-4a. [Actually, a
penalty was rescinded on last Sunday at the Kraft Nabisco after a call to the
USGA.] Decision 13-4/0.5 clarifies “testing the condition of a hazard” which is
prohibited when a player’s ball lies in a hazard. See below for an update.
Note: An announcement from the Joint Rules Committee dated April 8, 2008 and available on the USGA website, says, in part, that it is not a breach of the Rules if a player were to smooth sand in a bunker, when the player’s ball lies in another bunker, for the purpose of tidying up the bunker – the player’s or another player’s footprints, for example.