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.
  • Ball Moving After Address (Rule 18-2b). A new exception is added which exonerates the player from penalty if their ball moves after it has been addressed when it is known or virtually certain that they did not cause the ball to move. For example, if it is a gust of wind that moves the ball after it has been addressed, there is no penalty and the ball is played from its new position.

  • Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions (Rule 13-4). Exception 2 to this Rule is amended to permit a player to smooth sand or soil in a hazard at any time, including before playing from that hazard, provided it is for the sole purpose of caring for the course and Rule 13-2 (improving lie, area of intended stance or swing or line of play) is not breached.

  • Time of Starting (Rule 6-3a). The rule is amended to provide that the penalty for starting late, but within five minutes of the starting time, is reduced from disqualification to loss of the first hole in match play or two strokes at the first hole in stroke play. Previously this penalty reduction could be introduced as a condition of competition.
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photo by Phoenix Dark-Knight

[ comments ]
KVSmith59 says:
about time
BAKE_DAWG40 says:
Common sense finally prevails!
[ post comment ]
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