Bad new local rule possible as of January 1st 2018: No extra penalty

Hi all.

A lot of things happens within the Rules of Golf these days.

R&A and USGA Monday announced that as of January 1st 2018 it is possible to adopt a new local rule.

1. The Rules of Golf as of today.
If your scorecard is returned with a score lower on a hole than the one actually taken – and this is due to a failure to include a penalty that you at the time of returning did not know you had incurred – you will incur the applicable penalty AND two extra penalty strokes (Rule 6-6d).

2. The Rules of Golf as of January 1st 2018 (if the new Local Rule is applied).
If the Local Rule is applied, the extra penalty of two strokes is no longer applied, and therefore the player only incurs the penalty under the applicable rule.

3. Example.
You ground your club in a bunker behind your ball, but you touch the sand so little, that you don’t notice. It cost you a penalty of two strokes, but you don’t include them in the score for the hole (since you did not know, you had incurred them!) – and returns the scorecard.

  • If the local Rule is not applied, you will incur two penalty strokes for the breach, and an additional penalty of two strokes, in all four penalty strokes.
  • If the Local Rule is applied, you will only incur the two penalty strokes for grounding.

4. Formulation.
The Local Rule formulates this way:

The Exception to Rule 6-6d is modified as follows:

Exception:
If a competitor returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken due to failure to include one or more penalty strokes that, before returning his score card, he did not know he had incurred, he is not disqualified.

In such circumstances, the competitor incurs the penalty prescribed by the applicable Rule, but there is no additional penalty for a breach of Rule 6-6d.

This Exception does not apply when the applicable penalty is disqualification from the competition.

5. Bad Local Rule.
I am not sure what to think about it. The change in itself is OK.

But…:

  1. First of all I think it is bad, that the Rules of Golf (once again) are changed just because a few professional players have been penalized under the Rule. It makes it seem like professional players have a special status compared to us “normal” amateurs.
  2. Secondly (once again) they undermine the meaning of the concept of a “Local” Rule. The meaning is to regulate about local abnormal situations (Rule 33-8a states: “The Committee may establish Local Rules for local abnormal conditions…“). And in this situation it is not “abnormal” conditions.
  3. R&A and USGA states that the new Local Rule is the most correct thing to do. For me it is hard to take that point of view serious, when the penalty in many years have been disqualification and when it in 2016 was changed to two penalty strokes. Each time it has been stated that the change has been done after thorough considerations. But nothing has changed since 2016. So again it seems that they will defend a change, that really is made because the medias write a lot about a few professional players that have been penalized under a Rule that has been there for years and has been made after many considerations.
  4. In reality it is Rule 6-6d that is changed. And you cannot do that in a Local Rule. Rule 33-8 thus states: “A Rule of Golf must not be waived by a Local Rule. However, if a Committee considers that local abnormal conditions interfere with the proper playing of the game to the extent that it is necessary to make a Local Rule that modifies the Rules of Golf, the Local Rule must be authorised by the R&A.” Again: The way it has been changed (by giving a possibility to apply a Local Rule) does not make any sense. They should have changed directly in Rule 6-6d and not via a Local Rule.

Well now I got that out of my system!

Do you agree?

Or am I just an old, angry, stupid rules geek?

/Brian

 

6

6 responses to Bad new local rule possible as of January 1st 2018: No extra penalty

  1. Harrison Braxton December 15th, 2017 at 3:33

    You may be old and angry but you are not stupid, you are just wrong. If you commit a rules infraction and know about it, you should be disqualified, but if you commit a rules infraction and do not learn about it until after you turn In your scorecard, you should be assessed the extra penalty. The problem lies with adding 2 extra strokes for a wrong scorecard. I, for one, have never understood the necessity for this extra penalty. I think it is dead wrong. It has nothing to do with one’s skill on the golf course. My guess is that the USGA and R&A have come to their senses and are seeking a way to rid themselves of this ill considered rule by a local rule. Let’s hope the local rule becomes obsolete in the 2019 Rules of Golf.

    • OSWALD ACADEMY /Brian Oswald December 15th, 2017 at 14:38

      Thanks Harrison 🙂

      I agree about your points about the rule itself. I still find it wrong for them to make the change in a local rule – and to change the rules just because some high profiled professional players get penalized under the rule.

      Yes hopefully it will all be solved in a better way with the 2019-Rules.

      /Brian Oswald
      OSWALD ACADEMY

  2. Graeme December 15th, 2017 at 9:29

    I don’t agree with your comments Brian. The only ones penalised in the past were the leaders who had high speed cameras looking at the players every sneeze, what about the other 90% of players who don’t have cameras on them? Only the very best in the field were being detected, not the players going out in the first dozen groups……………. I think the addition of the appropriate penalty if detected AND the player doesn’t know the infringed, then just apply the rule penalty, and no extra for incorrect card.

  3. Anonymous December 15th, 2017 at 13:39

    i absolutely agree with your points.

  4. Jon Carew December 19th, 2017 at 8:14

    Is this available to all committees, or is it just a Tour thing? Where is the recommended wording to put on the Local Rules board?

    • OSWALD ACADEMY December 19th, 2017 at 14:44

      Jon: It is available to alle committees. The wording recommended is this:

      The Exception to Rule 6-6d is modified as follows:

      Exception:
      If a competitor returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken due to failure to include one or more penalty strokes that, before returning his score card, he did not know he had incurred, he is not disqualified.

      In such circumstances, the competitor incurs the penalty prescribed by the applicable Rule, but there is no additional penalty for a breach of Rule 6-6d.

      This Exception does not apply when the applicable penalty is disqualification from the competition.

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