|Justin Rose (Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)|
Why, prior to this ruling being made, none of the officials realised that Decision 18/4 was directly relevant to the incident is beyond me. This new Decision provides that, where enhanced technological evidence (e.g. HDTV, digital recording or online visual media, etc.) shows that a ball has left its position and come to rest in another location, the ball will not be deemed to have moved if that movement was not reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time. This was obviously the case and happily, after USGA and R&A experts had been involved, it was agreed that the penalty had been wrongly imposed and it was rescinded. A detailed explanation from the PGA Tour, with the full wording of Decision 18/4, can be read at this link.
I think that it might be useful here to clarify the difference between a ball moving and oscillating. The Definition of 'Move' or 'Moved' states;
A ball is deemed to have “moved’’ if it leaves its position and comes to rest in any other place.Whereas, a ball oscillates when it rocks backwards and forwards without leaving its spot. Most of us will have experienced our ball oscillating in a high wind, but some golfers may not be aware that there is no penalty if a player touches their ball with a club, causing it to rock off its spot, providing it returns to its original position. This is confirmed by Decision 18/2;
Q. In addressing the ball, a player accidentally causes the ball to oscillate, but it returns to its original position. Has the ball "moved"?Common sense eventually prevailed at THE PLAYERS Championship in TPC Sawgrass. Let us hope that penalties will never again be imposed for a movement of a ball that is not reasonably discernible to the naked eye.
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