Saturday, 25 August 2012

2012 Open Championship Rulings Statistics

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 32
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
This list totals 273 – there is no information on the other rulings.

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.”


I have received several queries as to whether my book ‘999 Updated Questions on the Rules of Golf 2012-2015’ will be made available as a hard print copy.  Due to the steadily increasing sales of the eBook version and the previous difficulties that I experienced; unsatisfactory publisher relationships, stocking hundreds of copies in my spare room, daily visits to the post office and exorbitant postal charges, it is now highly unlikely. However, if you order the eBook version from me (which is much cheaper than the print version), you can still print it out section by section, if required. When you order at this link I will send you a .pdf file (for laptop and PC) and a Mobipocket file (for Kindle, iPad, Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or any other compatible device). ‘999 Questions’ is still the easiest and most fun way to improve your understanding of the Rules of Golf.

Good golfing,

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