London - Changes announced on Tuesday by the US Golf Association (USGA) and the R&A
include no longer penalising players when ball movement can be detected
only by enhanced technology, a rule that hit Tiger Woods in September.
Golf's governing bodies validated three other noteworthy changes, all of which will take effect starting January 1, 2014.
number one Woods was issued a two-stroke penalty at this year's US PGA
playoff BMW Championship after his ball was deemed to have moved as he
tried to clear loose impediments around it.
But a PGA Tour
videographer using high definition technology spotted a potential
violation and reported it to tournament officials.
The replay was
reviewed and Woods was assessed a penalty even though he said after the
round that he could not detect the ball had moved, only that it appeared
to oscillate and return to its original position.
Woods was upset at the decision even after watching the high-def replay.
enhanced technological evidence 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," the governing bodies said in a joint statement.
governing bodies had been discussing the issue for two years and the
change was announced as part of the rules review process.
rules of golf are constantly evolving," USGA senior rules director
Thomas Pagel said. "The review process is an opportunity for the R&A
and the USGA to continue to help make the game more understandable and
Other changes included allowing players to access
weather reports on portable telephones during rounds as a safety
protection issue, illustrations to help clarify when a ball is to be
considered embedded and allowing a player to go forward up to about 50
yards without giving up the right to play a provisional ball.
is important to consider carefully new developments in the game,"
R&A executive director David Rickman said. "That is reflected in the
new decisions on the rules which give greater clarity on the use of
smart phones and advanced video technology."
As part of the review
ahead of possible changes for 2016, the rules committee will examine
other video issues, including the amount of precision needed in marking,
lifting and replacing balls; making reference points for taking relief
and appropriateness of penalty for a player returning an incorrect
scorecard when unaware a rules violation had taken place.
to developments in technology and video evidence is an important
ongoing topic in making and applying the rules of golf," the joint
"In pursuing this continuing review, the USGA and
The R&A will be guided by their longstanding position that a
(tournament) committee should consider all evidence, regardless of the
source, that may be relevant in determining the facts to which the rules
must be applied.
"To reach a correct ruling, all evidence from witnesses concerning a possible breach of the rules should be considered.
their ongoing review of the use of video and other enhanced technology,
the USGA and The R&A will continue to be guided by the view that,
regardless of the timing or the type of evidence used, the integrity of
the game is best served by getting the ruling right."