Golf's 2016 rule changes include no more DQs for incorrect scorecard
October 27, 2015 10:57 am ET
The USGA and R&A have announced that they are no longer disqualifying player for signing incorrect scorecards starting in 2016.
This is amid a host of other changes including the now-infamous anchor ban on putters, a change in the penalty on using artificial devices during a round and a change in the interpretation of addressing your ball.
Currently, if you address your ball and it moves for any reason that isn't "certainly" the player's fault (i.e. wind), you get a penalty. Now? The penalty will be applied only if the facts show a player caused the ball to move.
"It's not an absolute anymore," said Thomas Pagel, the USGA's senior director of rules.
The biggest change other than the putter ban, though, is the scorecard DQ. It was always sort of silly for golfers to have to sign a correct scorecard even though they might have received a penalty they didn't know they committed after signing.
Now, a two-stroke penalty will be applied in such instances. The RA& noted that this wouldn't have applied to Tiger Woods at the Masters a few years ago when he took his drop because in that instance the committee was at fault.
These are good changes to a sport that is often too nuanced for the general public (or even players) to understand. It's borderline insanity to be disqualified for a penalty you didn't know you committed. The anchor ban will be debated for a long time. I'm not sure it bothers me one way or the other.
My biggest hope is that the USGA and R&A continues simplifying the game and ushers it in to the fast-paced social media future with aplomb.
The most famous rules violation ever would not be affected by the new rules. (USATSI)