The Rules At Pinehurst
By Torleif Sorenson on 6/10/14
Doug Ferguson, lead golf writer for the Associated Press, correctly notes that this year's men's and women's U.S. Open Championships will be played on a rather unconventional course. And one of those who is over-the-moon happy about it is USGA Executive Director Mike Davis, who told Ferguson, "It's awesome."
We're not at Augusta anymore, Toto:
Alan Bastable had two eye-opening comments — the second of which could prove quite prescient:
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Image via USGA
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It's my understanding of USGA rules is that any bunker like area that contains vegetation is a waste area. Technically (according to my caddie when I was there), Dustin Johnson was in a waste area at Whistling Straits, but for some reason the PGA decided that week that all bunkers would be played as hazards. I think but not sure that the PGA has already determined that USGA rules will be used when it returns to Whistling Straits.
Of course in this day and age, you will probably still need rulings as to what constitutes vegetation.
I'd just play it safe. If you're not in the fairway, don't ground your club and play the ball as it lies.
One of the USGA guys said that there would be a rules official with every group. I would ask him, and what he says, goes. You can not be penalized for doing something wrong if that is what you were told.
USGA Explanation On Status Of "Waste Bunkers"
The Rules of Golf do not define such areas. By Definition, a bunker is a prepared area of ground from which turf or soil has been removed and replaced with sand or the like.
On the other hand, a natural sandy area is not a hazard, and a player whose ball lies in such an area may ground his club lightly in, or remove loose impediments from, the area as the area is through the green. The PGA Tour Rules Committee identified a number of these areas around the Harbour Town Golf Links, referred to them as "waste areas" on their Local Rules sheet and treated them as areas through the green for the competition.
It is a fact that the removal of loose impediments (in accordance with Rule 23-1) may incidentally cause the removal of a small amount of sand or similar material...
Matt F says:
Just hit it in the bloody fairway...these guys and girls are the best aren't they?
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