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Common Sense For Golf Officials

By: Sam Greenwood Collection: Getty Images Sport
With high-definition television and super-slow-motion replays increasingly playing a role in how golf’s rules are implemented, the sport’s governing have revised a rule so that some golfers in unique situations would be only penalized, not disqualified.

At issue is the occasion when a player is not aware he has breached a rule and could not reasonably be expected to have known. Recently, with the use of advanced video technologies, minor breaches of the rules have been discovered on television. In the past, a player who signed a scorecard without applying the appropriate penalty was disqualified.

Under the new interpretation, the player would still receive the penalty but not a disqualification.

Earlier this year, Padraig Harrington was disqualified after he shot an opening-round 65 at the Abu Dhabi Championship when a slow-motion replay on high-definition television revealed that his ball moved ever so slightly as he was removing his ball mark on the green. Harrington was unaware the ball moved and none of his playing partners or anyone else on the green reported the ball moving. If they had, a two-stroke penalty should have been assessed. Because the rules violation was not assessed at the time, Harrington signed an incorrect scorecard, which led to a disqualification.

With the change Harrington would still have two shots added to his score but could have continued to play.

Another celebrated case this year involved Camilo Villegas, who was disqualified for signing an incorrect card after a television viewer noticed he had tamped down a divot near where his ball was rolling down a slope. Villegas would still be disqualified under the new rule because the rules violation in this case was for not knowing a rule

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