Tuesday, December 13, 2016

New Local Rule for 2017

The USGA and R&A are introducing a new Local Rule for 2017. The recommended wording is as follows:

Accidental Movement of a Ball on the Putting Green
Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1 are modified as follows:
When a player’s ball lies on the putting green, there is no penalty if the ball or ball-marker is accidentally moved by the player, his partner, his opponent, or any of their caddies or equipment.
The moved ball or ball-marker must be replaced as provided in Rules 18-2, 18-3 and 20-1.
This Local Rule applies only when the player’s ball or ball-marker lies on the putting green and any movement is accidental.
Note: If it is determined that a player’s ball on the putting green was moved as a result of wind, water or some other natural cause such as the effects of gravity, the ball must be played as it lies from its new location. A ball-marker moved in such circumstances is replaced.”

The most important things for you to remember are:
1. This is a Local Rule.  Just like other Local Rules, such as for distance-measuring devices, it is applicable only if your Committee adopts this Local Rule.
2. This Local Rule only applies for a ball or ball marker that lies on the putting green.
3.  Under this Local Rule there is no penalty if the player, his partner, an opponent, or anyone’s caddie accidentally moves a ball on the putting green.  The moved ball or marker must be replaced.
4. If the ball is moved by a natural element (e.g., wind, water, gravity), the ball must be played from its new location. Only people or equipment may cause accidents.
5. If the ball marker is moved by a natural element, the ball marker must be replaced.

The USGA and R&A plan to adopt this Local Rule for all their tournaments and qualifiers in 2017. Click on this link to watch a video narrated by Thomas Pagel of the USGA that explains and demonstrates the new Local Rule: