This past weekend, Web Simpson may very well have missed out on his first PGA Tour victory when a gust of wind moved the ball on the green as he was addressing it. Simpson correctly called a penalty on himself, finished tied with Bubba Watson in regulation and finished second in a playoff.
As it turns out, the rule regarding ball movement is one that has been under consideration for some time, and Simpson’s misfortune may accelerate the issue. A proposed revision would exempt the player from a penalty if it was obvious that the player did not cause the ball to move.
I suppose that seems fair enough, but I wonder if it’s necessary. The penalty applies only if the club has been grounded. I recall reading a bit with Jack Nicklaus some time ago where he said that on windy days he was careful to never ground his club before putting. Grounding is required for “addressing.” Thus, if it moved, he was not assessed a penalty. Seems pretty simple to me.