Rule change in effect for Augusta

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A new ruling will prevent future situations like the one Padraig Harrington experienced back in Abu Dhabi in January.

A new ruling will prevent future situations like the one Padraig Harrington experienced back in Abu Dhabi in January.

Golf’s governing bodies have agreed on the change, set to take effect for the Masters this week, announcing a new interpretation to apply “in limited circumstances not previously contemplated”, where disqualifications have occured after advanced video technologies revealed rules transgressions.

Back in January, Padraig Harrington was disqualified after an alert TV viewer notified rules officials that he had seen Harrington’s ball move slightly after being marked on the green.

Because Harrington had already signed his scorecard, a two-stroke penalty could no longer apply, and he was disqualified.

The new rule, however, prevents a player from being that severely punished if he could not reasonably have discovered his error prior to returning his scorecard.

With video technology becoming more and more advanced, rules officials had to take into account that it could potentially pick up transgressions which a player himself might not notice at the time.

The player would still receive the two-stroke penalty in such a case, but will no longer be disqualified for signing his card.

Peter Dawson, R&A chief executive, said: “For some time we have been concerned that, in certain limited circumstances, disproportionate disqualification penalties have been required by the rules.

“This carefully considered decision reflects our desire to ensure that the rules of golf remain fair and relevant in the changing environment in which the game is played today.”

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