Golf

Faldo says players need rules refresher

2017-04-24 22:04
Nick Faldo (File)

London - British golf great Nick Faldo believes top players need to be "brought up to speed" on the sport's complicated rulebook if there is to be no repeat of the rows that have blighted recent major championships.

The latest high-profile incident came earlier this month when Lexi Thompson of the United States, who was leading by three shots in the final round of the ANA Inspiration, the first women's major of the year, was given a four-shot penalty for an incident that took place the previous day.

That Thompson had improperly replaced her ball for a one-foot putt during the third round only came to light as a result of a television viewer emailing officials, who then imposed the penalty while she was out on the course in Rancho Mirage, California.

Male golf stars such as Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler came to Thompson's defence, with both players saying the word of television viewers should not lead to players being penalised, with decisions on rule infractions ultimately a matter for the extensive team of officials who preside over any major golf tournament.

This week could see both the R&A (Royal and Ancient) and the United States Golf Association, the sport's two rule-making bodies, announce changes that mean no retrospective penalties will be added after a scorecard has been signed, with rules chiefs told to take no account of any messages from the watching public.

"The players need to go to a rules seminar," Faldo said during a teleconference on Monday to promote this year's men's British Open at Royal Birkdale.

"There's probably only two dozen rules that affect play on Tour. Players have to be brought up to speed and the caddies need to know as well."

As for television viewers 'snitching' on players, three-times Open champion Faldo said: "The problem you have is that if you are out at 8:00am (1700 GMT) and there are no cameras on you and you go out at 4:00pm (1500 GMT) the rules are different.

"You can break the same rule at two different times, one on television and one not on television, and you're getting a different ruling."

The 2017 British Open takes place at Royal Birkdale in Southport, near Liverpool, northwest England from July 20-23.

Read more on:    nick faldo  |  golf
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