Golfers no longer face automatic disqualification for two violations, including an incorrect scorecard, under the latest set of rules that reflect a little more leniency in handing out penalties.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A) and the US Golf Association (USGA) announced changes to next year’s edition of the Rules of Golf, which is updated every four years.
Players will avoid disqualification if the incorrect scorecard is the result of penalty strokes they did not know about when they finished their rounds. The penalty was also softened for players using artificial devices, such as training aids, in the middle of the round.
The new rules take effect on Jan. 1 next year.
The most notable addition was Rule 14-1b, which bans an anchored stroke used primarily for long putters. That already went through an exhaustive discussion and debate two years ago, along with some protesting from the PGA of America that it would keep some recreational golfers from playing.
Changes were made to 18 of the 34 rules. Most of them were tweaks, although there were two instances when the penalty no longer is disqualification.
“I think we would take the view that we’re certainly always looking to apply proportionate penalties, and we’re very conscious that disqualification is a very serious situation, and the removal from competition is something that we should use judiciously and therefore only when appropriate,” R&A executive director of rules and equipment standards David Rickman said.
“We feel that this is a step in that right direction,” Rickman added.
One of those changes involved the scorecard.
Players still face disqualification if they sign for a lower score on a hole. However, the new exception to Rule 6-6d allows a player to avoid disqualification if the score includes a penalty that was discovered only after he signed his card.
Previously, players were disqualified if a violation was reported after the round, because their scorecards did not account for the penalty strokes. Starting next year, players would have the penalty added to the hole, along with an additional two-shot penalty for the scorecard error.
One example was Camilo Villegas, who chipped up the slope to the 15th green at Kapalua in 2011, and the ball rolled back toward him. Villegas casually swatted away some loose pieces of grass in front of the divot as the ball was moving in that direction. The violation (23-1) was detected by a TV viewer after the round. It was a two-shot penalty, and thus Villegas was disqualified for an incorrect card.
Under the new rule, Villegas would have four shots added to his score — two for the rules violation, two for the scorecard error. However, he would remain in the tournament (unless the additional shots meant he missed the cut).
Rickman said the case of Tiger Woods at the 2013 Masters does not apply.
Woods took an incorrect drop on the 15th hole of the second round. A former rules official saw it on TV and notified the Masters rules committee, which decided it was not a violation and Woods signed for a 71. Only later, after the committee spoke to Woods, was it a clear violation. He was given a two-shot penalty, but not disqualified because the committee felt it was at fault.
Rickman said the new exception to Rule 6-6d would not have applied, because a committee error was involved.
DOUGHNUTS AND SPONGES
Another change involved artificial devices.
During a 30-minute wait in the middle of her round at the 2010 Safeway Classic, Juli Inkster put a weighted “doughnut” on her 9-iron. She was disqualified for violating Rule 14-3 banning artificial devices. Now that penalty is two shots (loss of hole in match play), and the penalty for any subsequent violation of the rule is disqualification.
D.A. Points was disqualified for that rule at Pebble Beach when he put a sponge ball under his arm to swing during a delay on the 18th tee.
Rickman said that also applies to range finders. To use it once is a two-shot penalty, twice is disqualification.
The other significant change to the rules involved when a ball at rest moves (Rule 18-2b). Currently, if a ball moves after it has been addressed, the player is deemed to have caused the movement and is penalized one shot. An exception was added in 2012 for when it is virtually certain that it was not the player’s fault (such as strong gusts).
Now, the rules no longer say players are guilty unless proved innocent. The penalty will be applied only if the facts show a player caused the ball to move.
“It’s not an absolute anymore,” USGA senior director of rules Thomas Pagel said.
This change comes with a new decision to serve as a guideline (18-2/0.5).
Among things an official would consider is what actions the player takes near the ball; how much time elapses between those actions and the ball moving; the lie of the ball (on a slope, perched on a tuft of grass) and weather conditions.
DRIVING AMBITION: ‘I was excited by playing at the Olympics ... Who knows what’s going to happen? Hopefully, I could have a chance to win a medal,’ Tiffany Chan said After just three tournaments this year, a chance of Olympic glory postponed and two weeks alone in quarantine, golfer Tiffany Chan could be forgiven for feeling sorry for herself. Instead, Hong Kong’s first LPGA Tour player is sporting a broad grin and taking the positives from the game’s COVID-19 shutdown, determined to establish herself in the fiercely competitive world of women’s golf. The talented 26-year-old kept herself fit physically and mentally during the lockdown, and is happy to be back on the fairways since the easing of coronavirus restrictions last month. “When I came back to Hong Kong [in March], I actually did
Eleven-year-old skateboarder Sky Brown, who is hoping to become Britain’s youngest Olympian next year, fractured her skull and broke bones in her left hand after falling from a ramp during a training session in California. Brown posted a video of the accident on Instagram, but reassured supporters that she was fine. “I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them ... but this was my worst fall. I just want everyone to know that it’s OK — don’t worry, I’m OK,” she said. “I’m going to push boundaries for girls with my skating and surfing. I’m going for gold in 2021
It is the land of the world champions, but is it really a soccer country? That is the question that some in France have been asking this week while its European neighbors work to bring the sport back after the COVID-19 shutdown. Debate has raged ever since Ligue 1 decided in late April to bring a premature end to the season with 10 rounds of matches unplayed. By contrast, two weeks have passed since the Bundesliga restarted, while Italian Minister for Sport Vincenzo Spadafora on Thursday confirmed that Serie A would return on June 20, and La Liga and the English Premier
A feel-good campaign allowing fans to have cardboard cutouts of themselves at Australian rugby league games has been hijacked by pranksters, with a notorious serial killer among those making an appearance — while one TV show edited an image of Adolf Hitler into the crowd. The NRL launched “Fan In The Stand” to coincide with the sport’s return at the weekend after its season was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Supporters are barred from stadiums under strict health protocols, but can pay A$22 (US$15) to have their photograph printed on a life-size cutout and placed in the stands of