Four hours after I posted today that the USGA had not replied to my questions about loose impediments and taking a stance properly, it did so. Here is their reply,
“Loose impediments may be removed by any means, except that, in removing loose impediments on the line of putt, the player must not press anything down – see Rule 16-1a and Decision 23-1/1. Accordingly, removing loose impediments from your area of intended stance is not considered to be building a stance.
“For more information regarding building a stance, please refer to Decisions 13-3/1 (standing on Mat on Teeing Ground), 13-3/2 (Making Stroke While Kneeling on a Towel), 13-3/3 (Knocking Down Side of Bunker to Get Level Stance).”
Those Decisions 13-3/1-3 are irrelevant to what I’m talking about, so they don’t help. According to what this USGA rep is saying, his main point is that “loose impediments may be removed by any means.” I think they should change that. And by saying you cannot press anything down on the putting green when removing loose impediments, that implies that you can press down anything when removing loose loose impediments through the green.
Well, I guess it’s time for me to put this baby to bed, and thus fawgettaboutit.