|Having found his ball Phil Mickelson opted to take|
relief under Rule 28b for a penalty of one stroke
The Royal & Ancient have released some interesting statistics relating to rulings made over the four days of play at this year’s Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
There were 339 Rules incidents reported by the walking referees that accompanied every game. Here is the breakdown, as supplied by the R&A;
Ball unplayable, Rule 28 32This list totals 273 – there is no information on the other rulings.
Casual water – bunker, Rule 25-1b(ii) 37
Casual water – through the green, Rule 25-1b(i) 21
Temporary Immovable Obstructions, Local Rule 47
Immovable obstructions close to putting green, Local Rule 16
Relief from crowd control fencing, Rule 24-2 15
Ground under repair, Rule 25-1b / Local Rule 48
Ball unfit for play, Rule 5-3 6
Identifying ball, Rule 12-2 7
Whether the ball was on the putting green or not 8
Ball at rest moved, Rule 18 14
Interference from cables, Rule 24-1 12
Lost ball, Rule 27-1 5
Out of bounds, Rule 27-1 5
I calculate that there were 188 games over the 4 days (groups of 3 on Thursday and Friday and groups of two on Saturday and Sunday). So, there was an average of 1.8 Rules incidents for each game where a ruling from the walking referee was sought. In my experience, this is probably lower than the number of Rules uncertainties that I would expect to occur during a typical round of stroke play golf involving three amateur golfers.
An unnamed spokesperson from the R&A commented,
“Although complicated situations do crop up from time to time, it is the basics that occur again and again. A referee must remain vigilant at all times though, and he must concentrate on each situation that is presented to him – it is easy to have a lapse of concentration and to get something wrong.”
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