Modifications for golfers with disabilities among R&A rule changes for 2023
Modifications for players with disabilities will be fully incorporated into the Rules of Golf from 2023 as the “headline” change announced by the R&A.
The creation of Rule 25 comes as the game’s governing bodies continue their efforts to make golf more inclusive and sustainable, with four million fewer copies of the rules being printed as the rules are promoted on a mobile app.
Grant Moir, director of rules at the R&A told the PA news agency: “There is very much a focus on inclusivity with the new rules.
“I would say that the headline change is the introduction of new Rule 25, which brings the modifications for players with disabilities, that used to have to be introduced as a local rule for competitions, into the mainstream in much the same way as competitions for players with disabilities have become.
“We are delighted to be making that change and introducing the new rule.
“We had a number of video calls with players representing different categories of disabilities and they were really pleased that this was coming in. There was a real positivity around the move.”
The modifications include allowing blind players to receive help with taking a stance and lining up for a shot, while amputees are allowed to anchor the club and get help to drop or replace their ball.
“The modifications first came into place more than 25 years ago and have been refined along the way,” Moir added.
“But it has always been a theme of our discussions with players or administrators that they want as few differences as possible.”
Asked if the new rule could boost golf’s bid to become included in the Paralympics, Moir said: “Whether it would be a help directly would be very hard for me to say, but certainly seeing that this is now part of the rules themselves and the governing bodies are absolutely embracing this can only be a good thing.
“We’ve never felt it was out on the fringes, but this just underlines our commitment to the fact that golf is inclusive, golf is for everyone.”
Other changes to the rules include allowing players to replace a club that is damaged during a round, provided it was not damaged through abuse, while a ball at rest must be replaced if it moves to “another area of the course” after being dropped, placed or replaced.
The latter was initially prompted by an incident involving Rickie Fowler during the final round of the WM Phoenix Open, which he went on to win despite a triple-bogey seven on the 11th hole.
Moir said: “He had taken relief from a penalty area, dropped within two club lengths under a one-stroke penalty and the ball was at rest and in play, and then it subsequently set off back into the penalty area and he had take another penalty.
“It got on our agenda at that point and it happened a couple of other times as well in high-profile circumstances.
“Now, if the ball moves to another area of the course – fairway to bunker, fairway to penalty area – the player is going to simply replace it without penalty.
“The damaged club rule is something of a simplification. Before it was only permissible for repair and we felt why not allow replacement? People don’t go out to try and damage clubs so they can replace it with a different club, that’s just not the mindset.
“So if someone has tripped over their putter or their driver head has exploded and they happen to be going past the clubhouse at the turn, it seemed sensible and equitable to allow people to get a replacement on the assumption it hasn’t been self-inflicted.”
A nice birdie-fest – Tiger Woods expecting low scoring Hero World Challenge
Woods withdrew on Monday due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Adam Scott relishing chance to experience a career first at the Australian Open
The tournament sees men, women and golfers with disabilities competing on the same course at the same time.
Tiger Woods backs up Rory McIlroy and says LIV Golf boss Greg Norman ‘has to go’
Woods called McIlroy a ‘true leader’ as he spoke out about the Saudi-funded breakaway.
Tiger Woods withdraws from Hero World Challenge due to foot problem
The former world number one has not played since the Open Championship in July.
Tiger Woods to partner son Charlie in next month’s PNC Championship
Woods has not played since the Open Championship in July.
I want to fulfil my dreams – Adam Scott in no mood to lower expectations
Scott is seeking a third Australian PGA Championship title this week in his native Queensland.
Nicolas Colsaerts named a vice-captain for Europe’s Ryder Cup team
The Belgian joins Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari on Luke Donald’s staff.
Ireland’s Ancient East: Golf attractions alongside stunning beauty of Kildare
Ireland has a rich mix of tourist attractions across its varied and beautiful terrain.
Rory McIlroy crowned top golfer in Europe despite Jon Rahm claiming Dubai title
The Spaniard’s two-shot victory over England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Sweden’s Alex Noren was his third in six years at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Leona Maguire shoots day’s best to tie Lydia Ko in chasing LPGA’s largest prize
Maguire is chasing her second title while Ko is close to claiming her second straight LPGA Tour player of the year.