Tuesday, April 19

The Rules Geek: Decision 33-7/4.5 Overhauled for Video Age

Editor’s note: The Rules Geek is an occasional and potentially annoying feature at ARMCHAIR GOLF.

THE DAYS WERE NUMBERED for Decision 33-7/4-5. Armchair rules officials glued to their high-def TV screens have for some time been emailing and tweeting rules violations, banishing tour pros such as Camilo Villegas and Padraig Harrington to DQ Land for turning in scores they thought were correct, only to later learn they made a boo-boo.

It had all gotten rather silly. The way things were going, half the tournament fields might have been sent home by year’s end for rules infractions. Thankfully, The R&A and USGA stepped in to rework the decision about disqualification. This from their statement:
This revision to Decision 33-7/4.5 addresses the situation where a player is not aware he has breached a Rule because of facts that he did not know and could not reasonably have discovered prior to returning his score card. Under this revised decision and at the discretion of the Committee, the player still receives the penalty associated with the breach of the underlying Rule, but is not disqualified.
As for ignorance of the Rules, The R&A and USGA will still have none of it, a stance that makes the Rules Geek a proud card-carrying member of those august bodies:
In revising the decision, The R&A and the USGA confirm that the disqualification penalty still applies for score card breaches that arise from ignorance of the Rules of Golf. As such, this decision reinforces that it is still the responsibility of the player to know the Rules, while recognizing that there may be some rare situations where it is reasonable that a player is unaware of the factual circumstances of a breach.
You can read the new language for Decision 33-7/4-5 here. I think we can all rest better now.

The Rules Geek sez rules were made to be followed. Got a rules-related tip or story? Send it to The Rules Geek at armchairgolfer@gmail.com.

More Rules Geek:
Camilo Villegas and the Divot DQ
Bad Behavior Down Under?
Juli Inkster and the Donut DQ
Phil Mickelson and the Proper Drop
Abnormal Ground Conditions Aid Amateur
Hunter Mahan’s Driver Replacement

(Photo credit: westy48, Flickr, Creative Commons license)


Charles Prokop said...

I'm glad they reduced the penalty for these infractions. I've always been bothered by "phoned in" infraction reports because all players aren't equally exposed to the risk of being reported. Unknown players far from contention are unlikely to be on TV; well known players and tournament leaders are.

The Armchair Golfer said...

Reported infractions didn't use to bother me. Plus, I figure you don't want to alienate your fan base and TV viewers. But the situation had definitely gotten out of hand. Something had to be done.