New R&A Golf Rules Change is Welcomed by Players | The Rules of Golf 2012-15

As reported by Adam Schupak in the New York Times on 27th October 2011, the new publication of the golfer’s bible The Rules of Golf 2012-15 by R&A will see no less than nine changes to the current rules, with one change in particular a very long time in coming for a few unfortunate professionals and amateurs.

The rule in question is the dreaded rule 18-2b, which concerns the ball moving after it has been addressed by a golfer. It is a rule number which many golfers have firmly in the forefront of their mind when putting in windy conditions.




Previously to the new rule modifications announced last week, once a golfer had addressed the ball with intention to putt it into the hole, if the ball moved due to any reason, then the golfer had to accept a penalty stroke.

Obviously, in windy conditions this proved to be a huge problem and several high profile golfers had fallen foul of the rule in recent times. Freddie Jakobsen at the 2008 British Open, Padraig Harrington at the 2009 US Masters, Rory McIlroy at this year’s British Open all fell foul of the rule after wind caused their ball to oscillate prior to their stroke.

Their one stroke penalty due to inclement weather conditions costing them thousands in prize money.

Yet that is not the highest profile event that has triggered a 267-year overdue review of the rule. More pertinent may be the fact that US Tour Money winner Luke Donald may not have claimed the title had Webb Simpson not fallen foul of the rule at this year’s Zurich Classic in New Orleans.

As Simpson prepared to make a simple par putt of less than a foot, a gust of wind caused his ball to oscillate. Simpson, correctly, called a penalty on himself and knocked in what became a bogey putt. The dropped shot took him into a play off for the title, which Simpson eventually lost.


The penalty cost Simpson $460,800 in prize money as he fell from first place to second as a result. In the end, it proved a lot more costly as Simpson finished second to Donald on the US money list by just $335,861.

After the event, Simpson stated “It’s such a bad rule”.

It is a sentiment shared by many golfers and many have already been quick to praise the rule change set for 2012.

“Every time the wind blows, I am worried that my ball is going to move and I am worried about grounding my putter, distracting me from trying to hole my putt,” stated Padraig Harrington an ambassador for the R&A.

“This change will speed up play, there won’t be as many suspensions and players won’t be getting penalized or disqualified unfairly.”

“It’s definitely giving us players a little bit of a break,” he concluded.


Golf-ball in a golf cup

Images by Gorilla Golf Blog©

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