A player addresses (defined as
taking stance and grounding) a teed ball on the teeing ground. The ball falls off the tee for some reason or is knocked
off the tee by the player accidentally. The player may the ball without penalty as the ball is not
(defined as occurring as soon as the player has made
a stroke at the ball on the teeing ground).
A player addresses a teed ball on the teeing ground. The player makes a stroke at the ball (defined as the forward movement of the club made with the intention of striking at and moving the ball). No matter whether the ball remains on the tee, falls off the tee without being struck by the club, or is struck by the club but still remains on the tee ground; the ball is now "in play". The stroke is counted.
We know that if we take a swing at the ball with intention to hit it, and then miss it entirely, we are charged with a stroke.
In the first situation, the player has full intention to strike the ball and move it. The fact that the grass deflected the club does not matter. The stroke is counted. Another point to remember; if a stroke is made on the teeing ground, the player may not adjust the tee or ball as the ball is in play after a stroke.
(Rule 14 - Decision 14/1)
In the second situation, the player has recognized that he/she is not prepared to strike at the ball; the swing is unintentional. Therefore the second condition of the definition has not been satisfied. There is no stroke. However, if there is any doubt that intention ceased during the downswing, the decision is resolved against the player.
(Rule 14 - Decision 14/2)