Dustin Johnson's caddie, his brother Austin, is teeing up the world No. 1's golf ball on the Masters practice range as the 2016 U.S. Open tries to prepare for his first round at Augusta National in the 2017 tournament.
Austin Johnson is doing that for his brother so as to limit the number of times Dustin has to bend over in his practice session. That's because Dustin Johnson slipped and fell down a short set of stairs on Wednesday afternoon, injuring his back after slipping in socks while heading to the garage to move the car. Johnson injured his lower back and his status to play in the Masters has been in doubt.
So, could a caddie tee up his player's ball during the round? Yes, the caddie could.
According to a number of rules experts, a caddie can tee up their player's ball for them. Technically, a player could have a playing competitor tee up the ball for them. That's because the ball isn't considered in play on a new hole until a tee shot is actually struck, meaning anyone can handle the ball until that point in a hole.
What caddies can do for players on the golf course
per Decision 6-4/10 per the Decisions on the Rules of Golf
- Search for the players ball as provided (Rule 12-1)
- Place the players clubs in a hazard (Rule 13-4, Exception 1)
- Repair old hole plugs and ball marks (Rule 16-1a(vi), Rule 16-1c)
- Remove loose impediments on the line of putt or elsewhere (Rule 16-1a, Rule 23-1)
- Mark the position of a ball without lifting it (Rule 20-1)
- Clean the player's ball (Rule 21)
- Remove movable obstructions (Rule 24-1)