Just in case someone was not paying attention, in January of this year, the governing bodies of golf have introduced new rules. After 5 years or so of deliberation, and much fanfare, a whole new set of rules and guidelines were introduced to make golf easier and more fun. I am not sure all amateurs are aware, but surely to goodness that the professionals were told about the changes!
As an amateur, I expect many of my playing partners to have a general understanding of the rule changes. And a few players, like myself, to have a better than average knowledge. As for professionals, I expect them to fully understand the changes and what it means to their game.
The most obvious is a sometimes professional golfer, Lee Ann Walker who was playing in a Senior LPGA Championship. After a round and half a competitor’s caddie informed her that her caddie was standing in the wrong place as she putted. This was a violation of a rule new that prohibited caddies from standing behind players as they putt. 58 penalty strokes later, Walker obviously missed the cut.
Jesper Parnevik was awarded a 2 stroke penalty for not replacing his ball after it accidentally hit his foot on short putt. The rules indicated that he should have replaced the ball, at not penalty, and putted again. After some discussion, Parnevik was awarded a 2 stroke penalty playing the ball from the wrong location. Essentially, he incurred a 2 stroke penalty for not taking a mulligan. To be fair, I did not know this rule either, but he is a professional.
I think you get my point. Playing by the rules is relatively important to whole concept of playing golf. Yes, you can have fun and break them at your leisure, but during a tournament – that is a no-no. And as a result, can cost any player and the chance to win.
Recently, I asked you the following:
I see that the 16+ category was not taken, but I can tell you that many amateurs, if they are counting all their penalty strokes, have played in this category at least once. My worst round was at Oyster Bay in Myrtle Beach. I was laying the 17th hole island green and placed 8 balls in the water trying to get one on play. Of course, this was for fun, but the strokes kept piling up. In a tournament, the most penalty strokes I received was 6 for 3 lost balls. I still shot a 79, but it was a very tough day.
Penalty stokes are part of golf. We all make a poor swing from time to time and as a result must play the price. However, receiving penalty strokes at the professional level because they did not know the rules seems a bit crazy to me. It is what they do for a living!
What do you think?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!