Tuesday, 21 March 2017

David Horsey’s Ball Deflected by Official

For obvious reasons Tournament Officials don’t like to be the subject of rulings! So it will probably take a long time for the unfortunate Wanchai Meechai, who was hit by a ball played by English Pro, David Horsey, during the final round of the 2017 Hero Indian Open in New Delhi last week, to overcome his embarrassment. The circumstance was that he was driving nonchalantly down the 9th fairway (!) in a golf cart marked, “Rules 2”, when Horsey’s well-struck ball bounced to the side of him, hit him on the shoulder, rolled across the floor of his cart and dropped back onto the fairway. So what was the ruling? As both the official and the moving golf cart are outside agents and the incident was a true ‘rub of the green’, the ball had to be played from where it came to rest. This part of Rule 19-1 applies;

If a player's ball in motion is accidentally deflected or stopped by any outside agency, it is a rub of the green, there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies.


The surprised TV commentator jokingly remarked;

“… Could have taken it to the green; that would have done him a favour!”

Well no! Note (a) to Rule 19 deals with that circumstance. If the official had deliberately deflected or stopped the ball in the cart and then deposited it somewhere, whether closer to the hole or further away from it, the spot where the ball would most likely have come to rest without the deflection must be estimated and the ball dropped there, without penalty.

To be fair to Wanchai Meechai, the official, he immediately recognised his mistake, turned to the teeing ground and raised his arms in a gesture of apology. No harm done, as the accidental deflection of Horsey’s ball only resulted in it coming to rest just a few yards nearer to the hole than it otherwise would have.

To view this incident click on this video link.

Errors on Score Cards
If you have ever worked on a Golf Competitions Committee you are almost certain to have had a situation where a returned score card included either a wrong hole score, wrong handicap, or has not been signed.

There have been two recent instances where competitors in Tour events have had to be disqualified for returning score cards with such errors. At the Qatar Masters, German Pro, Marcel Siem, had transposed the scores from his 5th and 6th holes, so although the total strokes for the round was correctly recorded, two of the individual hole scores were not. Presumably Siem’s marker had entered the wrong scores for the two holes, perhaps a few holes after they were played, and he had not checked his individual scores before signing and returning his score card.


At last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, the reigning U.S. Amateur Champion, Curtis Luck, returned an incorrect scorecard on day two. He finished his round with a bogey, meaning that he failed to make the cut by a few strokes. However, he entered and signed for a par on his 18th hole, leading to his subsequent disqualification when the error was discovered.

I am sure that most of us can sympathise with players, especially amateurs, who make simple mistakes on their score cards. However, there can be no exceptions in applying the penalty of disqualification under Rule 6-6b, whatever rationalisation, justification or excuse is offered. A Committee that makes an exception to applying the Rules of Golf for one player will almost certainly regret its decision when it is continually raised by others seeking to receive the same preferential treatment.

Good golfing,


 


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The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2017 and may not be copied without permission.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

More on Rules Modernis(z)ation

At this time, less than a week after the R&A and USGA unveiled their preview of the proposed new Rules of Golf, I have decided not to comment in any detail about my opinions on any of the changes. A lesson that I have learned during the 10 plus years that I have been studying and blogging on the Rules of Golf, is that there is little to be gained by making instant judgements based on personal, limited experiences and preferences, without carefully considering the potential consequences for others, as there are often several implications, which may not be immediately apparent, to absorb and think through. Overall, I welcome the proposals, particularly those that relate to improving the pace of play, which to my mind is one of the biggest issues facing the future of recreational golf.

For those of you that have not seen, or have not been interested in studying the detail of the Ruling Bodies’ proposals at this very early stage, here is my brief outline of 10 of the most significant changes affecting amateur golfers;

1.    There is no penalty when a player’s ball in motion accidentally hits them, or their equipment (e.g. it rebounds off the lip of a bunker).

2.    A ball may be dropped from any height (yes, even one inch!)

3.    Defined relief areas (e.g. for dropping) to be either 20" or 80" (not club-lengths). This translates to 50.8 cm and 203.2 cm!

4.    A ball is lost after 3 minutes search.

5.    There is to be relief for a ball that is embedded anywhere, except in sand.

6.    The flagstick may be left in the hole while putting.

7.    Spike marks and other damage to the putting green may be repaired before making a stroke.

8.    Increased use of red penalty areas (previously known as lateral water hazards), so that lateral relief is always allowed from them, even if they are not areas of water (e.g. deserts, jungles, or lava rock fields).

9.    There is no penalty for removing loose impediments in either penalty areas or bunkers.

10.    A caddie is not permitted to line up their player before they make a putt, or any other stroke.

Please remember that the above outlines just 10 of the proposals, which are not yet in operation and even if they are agreed are unlikely to replace the existing Rules until January 2019. This is the published, estimated timeline from the Ruling Bodies;

  • To March 2017: Gathering feedback on the drafts of the proposals.
  • March 1st 2017: Announcement of the proposed new Rules of Golf.
  • March 2017 to August 2017: Seeking public feedback for further evaluation.
  • August 2017 to spring 2018: Reviewing and approving the new Rules
  • Spring 2018: Announcement of the new Rules
  • January 1st 2019: The new Rules take effect
Apparently, the R&A and USGA have been working on these proposed changes for over 5 years and have gone through 7 iterative drafts. I am aware that many golfers criticise those that are closely involved with the Ruling Bodies as being geriatric, blue blazers’ ensconced in their ‘ivory tower’ and totally out of touch with the playing of the game of golf. My experience is that this is very far from the truth. I can categorically say that all those that I have met and have had dealings with are dedicated professionals of all ages and backgrounds, striving to protect and improve the game of golf for the benefit of all 60 million golfers around the world. They are to be congratulated for this attempt to make the Rules significantly easier to understand and apply, whilst preserving the character of the game and the essential principles that have served players well for more than 270 years.

A good example of this is the outstanding work that has gone into preparing a comprehensive library of resources for easy access to everything surrounding the proposed new Rules. This includes explanatory narratives, diagrams, infographics, videos, Q&As, and the proposed new Rules book. They have even provided a recommended ‘Test Rules’ for use in an unofficial (i.e. non handicap counting) event. You can explore for yourself at these links;

R&A - http://www.randa.org/RulesModernisation

USGA - http://www.usga.org/rules-hub/rules-modernization.html

I strongly recommend that everyone with an interest in the future of golf delves into these comprehensive resources. Not only do they provide the precise, but much improved wording of the proposed changes, but also the reasoning behind them. Having done so, you are encouraged to take the 10 minutes survey, to ensure that your opinions are included in the feedback before the final changes are agreed and announced.

Good golfing,


 


Don’t forget that you can quiz yourself on the Rules, as they  exist for this year and next year, by purchasing my eBook, ‘999 More Questions on the Rules of Golf’. Click on this link for more information.

The above content is strictly copyright to Barry Rhodes © 2017 and may not be copied without permission.