New Rules of Golf
By mustang6560 on 10/24/11
The USGA and R&A announced the new Rules of Golf for 2012-2015 and the most notable amendment is to rule 18-2b, Ball Moving After Address. Previously, if a player addressed his or her ball on the putting green and the ball moved, he or she was deemed to have moved the ball and assessed a one stroke penalty, even if he or she was not responsible for moving the ball (i.e. wind).
The most recent example of the absurdity of that rule was at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. During the final round, Webb Simpson was holding onto a one stroke lead over Bubba Watson when his "tap in" putt on the 15th hole moved. The wind was blowing all day, and was likely the culprit, but because Webb had addressed his ball he called a penalty on himself so his par turned into a bogey. A lot of golf was played between that moment and the end of the tournament, but Webb eventually lost in a playoff to Bubba Watson.
Under the new exception, a player will no longer be penalized a stroke if his or her ball moves on the putting surface if it's "known or virtually certain" that he or she is not responsible for moving the ball. It's been rumored that the rule was going to be changed for awhile now but I'm glad to see the USGA and R&A actually implemented it. It should also be noted that the new Rules of Golf were "designed, published and presented jointly" by the USGA and R&A for the first time ever. Maybe we can all be friends after all!
Below are the notable rules change.
photo by Phoenix Dark-Knight
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Common sense finally prevails!
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