Glad to see this, more changes like these are welcome...
The U.S. Golf Association and the R&A announced Monday changes to the Rules of Golf and the Rules of Amateur status.
Under the new Rules of Golf, which will be in effect from 2012-15, a player is no longer penalized if their ball is moved, through no fault of their own, after address. A stated example was, if wind causes a player’s ball to move on the green following address, the player will play the ball from its new position without penalty.
The new rules would have benefited Webb Simpson at this year's Zurich Classic of New Orleans. On the 15th hole during the final round (pictured above), Simpson, bidding for his first PGA Tour win, addressed a par putt when the ball moved – unintentionally – a few inches. Simpson was assessed a one-stroke penalty and eventually lost a playoff to Bubba Watson.
"This change will speed up play, there won’t be as many suspensions and players won’t be getting penalized or disqualified unfairly. It is definitely giving us players a little bit of a break," said three-time major champion Padraig Harrington.
Other changes to the Rules include:
*Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions (Rule 13-4). Exception 2 to this Rule is amended to permit a player to smooth sand or soil in a hazard at any time, including before playing from that hazard, provided it is for the sole purpose of caring for the course and Rule 13-2 (improving lie, area of intended stance or swing or line of play) is not breached.
*Time of Starting (Rule 6-3a). The rule is amended to provide that the penalty for starting late, but within five minutes of the starting time, is reduced from disqualification to loss of the first hole in match play or two strokes at the first hole in stroke play. Previously this penalty reduction could be introduced as a condition of competition.
“The Rules of Golf are constantly evolving and our hope is that what we have produced for 2012 is clear, informed by common sense and reflective of the demands of the modern game,” said David Rickman, R&A director of rules and equipment standards.
Regarding changes to the Rules of Amateur Status, an amateur golfer who is at least 18 years of age may now enter into a contract and/or agreement with a third party (such as an agent) soley in relation to the player’s future as a professional golfer. The player may not obtain financial gain as an amateur and cannot be required to play in certain amateur or professional events.
Other changes include:
*Professionalism; Contracts and Agreements (New Rule 2-2(a)). An amateur golfer may now enter into a contract and/or agreement with his national golf union or association, provided the golfer does not obtain any financial gain, directly or indirectly, while still an amateur golfer.
*Subsistence Expenses (Rule 4-3). An amateur golfer may receive reasonable subsistence expenses, not exceeding actual costs, to assist with general living costs, provided the expenses are approved by and paid through the golfer’s national golf union or association.
(As per the Golf Channel website)
Some good stuff there, but when are they going to see sense and ban long putters?? Any 'swing' made with a club that is anchored in use cannot truly be said to be a swing or stroke and therefore has no place in the game.
Agree, the rules changes seem positive. Hopefully we'll see less of the top pro's disqualified from tournaments due to these rules beaches.
However, I'm not sure what they can do about long putters now. A few things that might count against such a rule change:
- They may have missed the boat already. If it was to be banned, they should have done it years ago
- There are a lot of amateurs using long putters, who would say that they can no longer putt using short putters because of the dreaded 'yips'. If you can them now, you risk having a negative impact on participation in a sport that is already suffering due to the recession
- There are a lot of top pro's using them now, such a rule change could be considered unfair on those guys, could seriously impair their ability to make a living (and would more than likely end up in a costly and damagin legal challenge)
I'm not saying they are right or wrong, however, there are obstacles to getting rid of them
I think they could begin to think about setting a date by which anchored swings would be disallowed, say 2014. This would allow the pros to begin the process of changeover.
Yes, the square grooves had a graduated introduction so that the pros had to adjust quickly, elite amateurs next and then us plebs much later. I'd prefer that they (longer putters) were gone for everyone yesterday but it may not be reasonable to change it so quickly due to interests...