New Rules of Golf You Need to Know for 2019

Nine changes in the new Rules of Golf you absolutely need to know for 2019

 

By: Ryan Herrington

As Jan. 1 approaches, it’s time to consider what New Year’s resolutions you’ll be making to help your golf game in 2019. For those who haven’t come up with any, here’s a suggestion: Learn the Rules of Golf. (No, really learn them this time.) Perhaps you’ve tried, only to find that by February, the copy of the rules book you picked up is covered with as much dust as that Peloton you bought to get into shape. Yet here’s the thing: There’s no better time than now to give it another shot because a new, modernized version of the rules goes into effect on New Year’s Day.

In the most sweeping revision in more than 60 years, officials from the USGA and R&A, golf’s governing bodies, have reorganized the rules to make them easier to understand and apply. The number has been cut to 24 from 34, and the language simplified to make it more practical. Roughly 2 million copies of the Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf were published and circulated this fall. If you haven’t gotten one, you can find it online at usgapublications.com, as well as with explanatory videos at usga.org/rules. The free USGA Rules of Golf app has been updated, too.

To help you keep this resolution, here are nine changes to the new rules you should know.

I. Accidents happen
The controversy over Dustin Johnson’s ball moving on the green during the final round of the 2016 U.S. Open exposed the old rules for being too harsh when it came to what many considered tickytack infractions. New language, first adopted through Local Rules since 2017, states there is no penalty if you accidentally move your ball (or ball marker) on the green. Put the ball back, and you’re good to go. The same applies if you’re searching for a lost ball and mistakenly move it.

II. The fix is in
Golfers often complained about the silliness of letting players fix a ball mark on the green, but not a spike mark. What’s the difference? With no good answer, officials now will let you fix everything without a penalty. You can also touch the line of your putt with your hand or club so long as you’re not improving it.

III. A lost cause
To improve pace of play, golfers now have just three minutes to search for a missing ball rather than five. Admit it, if you hadn’t found it in three minutes, you weren’t finding it anyway.

IV. Knee is the new shoulder
The process for dropping a ball back in play is revamped in the new rules. Instead of letting go from shoulder height, players will drop from around their knee. This is a compromise from an original proposal that would have let golfers drop from just inches above the ground. To preserve some randomness with the drop, officials went with knee height instead. Why change at all? Primarily to speed up play by increasing the chances your ball stays within the two-club-length drop area on the first try.

V. No longer at touchy subject
Hitting a ball into a water hazard (now defined as “penalty area”) should come with consequences. But golfers don’t have to be nervous about incurring an additional penalty for a minor rules breach while playing their next shot. You’re free to touch/move loose impediments and ground your club, eliminating any unnecessary worry. The only caveat: You still can’t put your club down and use it to improve the conditions for the stroke. You can remove loose impediments in bunkers, too, although touching the sand in a bunker in front of or behind the ball is still prohibited.

VI. Damaged goods
We all get mad on the course, and sometimes that anger is taken out on an unsuspecting driver or putter. Previously, the rules were confusing on when or if you could play a club you damaged during a round, and it led to instances where some players were disqualified for playing clubs with a shaft slightly bent or some other damage they didn’t realize the club had. Now you can play a club that has become damaged in any fashion. If you caused the damage, however, you can’t replace the club with a new one.

VII. Twice is … OK
A double hit is almost always accidental, and the outcome so random as to hardly be beneficial. So golfers are now spared the ignominy of adding a penalty for hitting a ball twice with one swing. It counts as only one stroke. Somewhere T.C. Chen is smiling.

VIII. The end of flagstick folly
Another nod to common sense eliminates a penalty for hitting a flagstick left in the hole while putting on a green. Taking out and then placing back in flagsticks can often cause undo delay in the round, and the flagstick is as likely to keep your ball out of the cup as it would help it fall in.

IX. O.B. option
Courses may implement a Local Rule (not for competition) that offers an alternative to the stroke-and-distance penalty for lost balls or shots hit out-of-bounds. A player may drop a ball anywhere between where the original ball was believed to come to rest (or went out-of-bounds) and just into the edge of the fairway, but no nearer the hole. The golfer takes a two-stroke penalty and plays on instead of returning to the tee. This way, the Local Rule mimics your score if you had played a decent provisional ball.

Image by: Rob Carr/Getty Images
Source: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/nine-changes-in-the-new-rules-of-golf-you-absolutely-need-to-know-for-2019

Celebrate Independence Day With Us!

Jason Dufner Wins at The Memorial

It was a busy week in golf, on and off the course.  Congrats to Jason on a great win on a tough golf course!  He becomes only the second Ohioan to win at Jack’s place.

Jason Dufner had to wait out two weather delays, but he won his fifth PGA Tour title Sunday at the Memorial Tournament. Here’s how the final round played out at Jack’s house:

Leaderboard: Jason Dufner (-13), Rickie Fowler (-10), Anirban Lahiri (-10), Justin Thomas (-9), Matt Kuchar (-9)

What it means: Dufner opened with a pair of 65s and set the 36-hole scoring record at the Memorial. He went into the weekend with a five-shot lead, but he started the final round four behind Summerhays after a shocking 77 on Saturday. But Dufner knew he still had a great chance to win, and he proved it on Sunday with four birdies and no bogeys on the back nine at Muirfield Village. Tied with playing partner Fowler heading to the par-5 15th, Dufner made birdies on 15 and 17 to take control of the tournament. After a second weather delay, Dufner came out and played a nervy closing hole. But he slammed home a 32-foot par putt on 18 to secure the win, and he joined tournament host Jack Nicklaus as the only Ohio-born champions of the Memorial.

Round of the day: Anirban Lahiri went out early and posted a bogey-free 65 to grab a share of second place. Lahiri needed a good week coming off of three straight missed cuts.

Best of the rest: Fowler played a solid front nine with three birdies and no bogeys, and he held the lead for a short time after another birdie on the par-5 11th. He was unable to capitalize on the par-5 15th after a bogey at the short par-4 14th, and Fowler made a closing bogey to drop back into a share of second place.

Biggest disappointment: Summerhays started the day with a three-shot lead and had a great chance to win his first PGA Tour title. But after a double on No. 3 and a bogey on 4, he started to wobble. Birdies on Nos. 5 and 7 got him back in the mix, but Summerhays came home with three back-nine bogeys and another double at 18 for a 78 to finish T-10.

Shot of the day: Dufner found the right rough off the 18th tee, and he tried to hack out of the thick stuff but advanced his second shot only 75 yards. His third shot from the rough landed on the green 32 feet away from the hole. That’s when Dufner stepped up and drained his longest putt of the week to win the title.

Quote of the day: “I had to get over it quick.” – Dufner on how he rebounded from a Saturday 77 to win.

Source:  Golf Channel