On Tuesday the USGA and R&A announced 87 changes — three new Decisions, 59 revised Decisions, one re-numbered Decision and 24 Decisions withdrawn – to the Rules of Golf that will be effective January 1, 2014, but there were four significant ones, with the most notable involving the use of high-definition or slow-motion video and other visual evidence in enforcing the game’s rules.
Golf’s governing bodies may have been prompted to make this new decision as a result of several controversies during the 2013 season, particularly the Oscillate-gate incident with Tiger Woods receiving a two-shot penalty for his ball moving at the BMW Championship.
In May, the USGA and R&A made a joint announcement that they had decided to proceed with their decision to adopt Rule 14-1b — banning the anchored putting stroke — effective as of January 1, 2016.
While the PGA Tour and Commissioner Tim Finchem have voiced their opposition to the rule and a group of players who use the stroke have lawyered up, the Tour Policy Board convened the week of the Memorial Tournament and all signs seemed to indicate they’d follow the decree of golf’s governing bodies. After all, how confusing would it be to have two sets of rules and it’d be the PGA Tour saying they were above the game of golf, etc.
On Monday, the Tour announced the Tour Policy Board met this morning and voted to conform with the USGA and R&A’s rule. Here’s the press release:
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond — the leader of the region’s devolved parliament — has refused the invitation of the R&A to attend next month’s Open Championship, citing Muirfield’s refusal to admit female members.
Tim Clark, Carl Pettersson and seven other PGA Tour players have teamed up to take on golf’s governing bodies if the PGA Tour adopts the impending ban on anchored putters, which the USGA and R&A announced last week would be banned starting January 1, 2016. While several other major tours have come out to voice their support for golf’s governing bodies, the PGA Tour is waiting it out and if it decides to adopt — which it likely will — the rule, then nine Tour pros are ready to fight over the issue in court, according to SB Nation’s Emily Kay:
As expected, the USGA and R&A availed of this morning’s conference call with journalists to confirm their amendment of rule 14-1b to prohibit the anchored putting stroke. The announcement brings to an end what the official statement describes as an “extensive review” of the issue, during which comments from various dissenting parties and interest groups — among them the PGA Tour and PGA of America — were considered at length.
Join us below the line for a breakdown of the rule change itself, plus quotes and reaction from the saga’s chief protagonists (except for Carl Petterson; he needs a few days to process things, apparently).
Padraig Harrington, one of the most prolific tinkerers in the game, played with a belly putter for the first time in a competitive round at the Wells Fargo Championship. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the best day, shooting an opening 80, which included 32 putts.
While Harrington thinks the anchored stroke should be banned, he’s using the belly putter because he thinks it’s helping him stroke it better. Which is intriguing coming from the three-time major champion and R&A ambassador because it basically strengthens the argument for the USGA and R&A’s looming ban that is expected to be announced later this month.
The USGA and R&A issued a statement on Wednesday explaining the ruling that saved Tiger Woods from disqualification at the Masters for taking an illegal drop. Basically, the governing bodies clarified that it will not serve as a precedent for waiving the penalty (disqualification) for signing an incorrect scorecard (see below under “Scope of Committee Discretion to Waive a Penalty of Disqualification for Failure to Return Correct Score”).
Pros (and amateur competitors) must still make sure they return an accurate score, so you can’t pull a “Tiger” – who was extended a lifeline because Fred Ridley, Masters tournament competition committee chairman, made an “erroneous” application of the rule. I know, darn it!