Tiger Woods: oscilated

David A. Daniel dad at POKERWIZ.COM
Mon Sep 16 19:29:32 UTC 2013

An oscillating golf tends to happen when you are clearing loose debris -
leaves and sticks and little rocks and such - from around your ball. You
pick up a twig, accidentally giving the ball a little nudge, it wiggles, and
just as you think you've cost yourself two strokes, its insufficient
momentum causes it to come back to rest where it was. That ball is said to
have oscillated in golf terms. If this meaning is not in OED and other
dictionaries, but is in current use by, say, 500 million golfers, and has
been for, say, a couple hundred years, then perhaps it should be suggested
for inclusion. Or, we could be officiously prescriptivist, in which case we
could send out 500 million letters and tell all the golfers of the world
that they have to start saying "wiggle". To add a little strength to our
argument, perhaps we could write to Stephen Hawking and ask him to endorse
the concept that oscillating golf balls are an affront to physics.

Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
Subject:      Re: Tiger Woods: oscilated

It was oscillation, I know
Standing there alone with the breezes above
Then the ball was touched
And next moment it shifted
Oscillation turned to.a two-stroke penalty.


On Sep 16, 2013, at 2:21 PM, Victor Steinbok wrote:

> Seems to be based on some combination of golfers' naive science and
> urban legend. Either the ball moves or it doesn't. If it's moved by the
> wind, it's not caused by the player, so there is no need to replace the
> ball in its original position and there's no penalty. If it's caused by
> a player or some outside force (with wind specifically excluded by the
> rules), then the ball is replaced, with or without penalty. It seems
> "oscillation" is an attempt to pretend to that the ball did not move,
> but also encompassing the ball's wavering in the wind without changing
> position. I suppose, this "wavering in the wind" may qualify under
> ordinary definitions of "oscillat--" but even this is a stretch as the
> ball does not actually vibrate. And any other applications of
> "oscillat--" in this context do not qualify, as there is no repeated
> motion in some instances and no fluctuation between multiple fixed
> alternative positions. Golfers, like baseball players, are notorious for
> making up naive physics of the ball, so the use of "oscillat--" does not
> surprise me. Still, the meaning is not listed in dictionaries, which was
> the point of the original post. As Wilson says, YMMV
>    VS-)
> On 9/15/2013 11:42 PM, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
>> Oscillation is the phenomenon of a dimpled golf ball on the soft ground
>> seeming to shift weight,  often in response to wind, as if to begin a
>> but not beginning to actually roll. In theory, there is a bottom dimple;
>> the bottom dimple changes, the ball is considered to have moved. If the
>> ball returns to rest in the same location on the original bottom dimple,
>> merely oscillated, but did not move.
>> DanG
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list