New Golf Rules From USGA, R&A
The USGA and the R&A have a few updates to the rules for golf.
In the wake of the first US Adaptive Open Championship, the rules now include official modifications to the Rules for players with disabilities. I think that is really important, as it could help to grow the game through accessibility and inclusion.
Other rules updates deal with clubs damaged during the course of a round; a ball moved by natural forces; and an updated back-on-the-line relief procedure.
All of these strike me as common sense adjustments.
The “ball moved by natural forces” rule would avoid the fate of Rickie Fowler in the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2019. On that instance, Fowler’s ball found its way into water on the eleventh. He took a drop, and while going to the green to determine his line, the ball rolled into the water again. That caused another relief penalty and resulted in a triple bogey.
Fowler saw a five-stroke lead evaporate. Fortunately, it didn’t cost him the tournament title. But it very well could have.
Under the new rules, he would have taken a penalty for the first water shot, but not for the second. That makes sense. The first penalty was the result of his own miscue; the second was the fault of gravity.
You can find of the new golf rules changes at the USGA (link). A summary is in the USGA infographic below;USGA-Golf-Rules-Changes-Infographic-1