2012 Rules Changes-Playing From The Wrong Place

We will continue our journey through the principal Rules changes introduced for 2012 by discussing Rule 20-7c Playing from Wrong Place; Stroke Play.  Note 3, under Rule 20-7c has been amended so that if a player is penalized for playing from a wrong place, in most cases the penalty will be limited to two strokes, even if another Rule has been breached prior to his making the stroke.

Note 3 now states:  “If a player incurs a penalty for making a stroke from a wrong place, there is no additional penalty for:

(a)    Substituting a ball when not permitted;

(b)   Dropping a ball when the Rules require it to be placed, or placing a ball when the Rules require it to be dropped;

(c)    Dropping a ball in an improper manner; or

(d)   A ball being put into play by a person not permitted to do so under the Rules”

If you would like to learn more about the Rules of Golf please follow me on Twitter @fgcards.   I usually Tweet out some Rules and Decisions on the Rules of Golf each day.

Frank Guastella, PGA Master Professional

Michigan PGA Rules Official

Staff Writer for Mike Fay Golf

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2012 Rules Changes-Rule 19-1 Ball In Motion Deflected-Playing By The Rules

Rule 19-1, Ball in Motion Deflected or Stopped by Outside Agency, now includes an expansion to the Note to prescribe various outcomes when a ball in motion has been deliberately deflected or stopped by an outside agency.  To quote the Rule Book:

“Note:  If a player’s ball in motion has been deliberately deflected or stopped by an outside agency:

(a)    After stroke from anywhere other than on the putting green, the spot where the ball would have come to rest must be estimated.  If the spot is:

(i)through the green or in a hazard, the ball must be dropped as near as possible to that spot;

(ii)out of bounds, the player must proceed under Rule 27-1; or

(iii)on the putting green, the ball must be placed on that spot.

(b)    After stroke on the putting green, the stroke is cancelled.  The ball must be replaced and replayed.

If the outside agent is a fellow-competitor or his caddie, Rule 1-2 applies to the fellow-competitor.

(Players ball deflected or stopped by another ball – See Rule 19-5)”

Formerly, Rule 19-1 provided that if a players ball was “purposely” deflected or stopped by an outside agency (eg: a spectator), the principles of equity were applied to determine the point from where the ball was to be played.  A number of rules decisions provided guidance.  The new note to 19-1 clarifies this situation.  Thomas Pagel, the Senior Director of Rules of Golf for the USGA, explained that these changes were driven by a desire to add more certainty to the rule.

Frank Guastella, PGA Master Professional

Michigan PGA Rules Official

Staff Writer for Mike Fay Golf

To “follow” Frank on Twitter click here

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2012 Bunker Rules Change-Playing By The Rules

In the 2008 Zurich Classic, Stewart Cink was penalized when his caddie raked a bunker that was 185 yards from the green while Cink’s ball was at rest in a greenside bunker.  This instance led to a decision that made reference to the fact that if the caddie was raking the bunker “soley for the purpose of caring for the course” there is no longer a penalty.

This concept has been carried further for 2012, by creating a new Exception 2 to Rule 13-4 (Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Action) that reads, “At any time, the player may smooth sand or soil in a hazard provided this is for the sole purpose of caring for the course and nothing is done to breach 13-2 (Improving Lie, Area of Intended Stance or Swing, or Line of Play) with respect to his next stroke.  If a ball played from a hazard is outside the hazard after a stroke, the player may smooth the sand or soil in the hazard without restriction.”  This Exception 2 of the rule grants players the right to smooth sand or soil in a bunker at any time, including before playing from the bunker, providing it is done for the sole purpose of caring for the course and nothing is done to improve the position or lie of the ball, the area of intended stance or swing, or the line of play.  An example of this would be a player raking a bunker behind him as he enters the bunker and walks 30 yards to reach his ball.

In addition, if a stroke is made from within a bunker and the ball remains in the bunker, the player may rake the bunker as he walks to his ball that still is in the bunker.  The player must not breach Rule 13-2 when doing his raking in both of the previous circumstances.  Again, nothing can be done to improve the lie of the ball, the area of the intended stance or swing, or the line of play.

Frank Guastella, PGA Rules Official Michigan Section PGA

Staff Writer, Mike Fay Golf

If you have a question for Frank here’s where you can contact him.

Email:  fguastella@franklin-golf.net

To “follow” Frank on Twitter click here

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2012 Addressing The Ball Rules Change-Playing By The Rules

This is a first in our new feature called Playing By The Rules.  It’s my pleasure to introduce you to what has become a great friend of mine, Mr. Frank Guastella.  Frank is a Michigan PGA Rules Official and has been contributing to the Ask The Pro Show on Twitter since it started.  He is our “Resident Rules Official” on the show and I can count on him to spread his knowledge of the rules of golf to everyone.  Thank you Frank for your time and effort with this project.  Enjoy!-Mike

After a four year review of the Rules of Golf, the USGA and R&A have completed their study and amended nine principal regulations from the Rules of Golf.  In addition, for the first time, there will be a joint publication of the Rules by both governing bodies.  The changes became effective on January 1, 2012.  For golfers who like to play by the rules, the changes will likely be welcomed for easing penalties and removing ambiguities.

Probably, one of the most anticipated changes was the definition of “Addressing the Ball”.  The revision states that a player has addressed the ball when he has grounded the club immediately in front or immediately behind the ball, whether or not he has taken his stance.  Note that the change does not require the player to place his feet in position for the stroke in order for the ball to be addressed, as was the case in the past.  Also, note that there is no reference to addressing the ball in a hazard when the player has taken his stance.  The omission of this requirement in 2012 infers that a player will never address his ball in a hazard unless he grounds his club, which would result in a two-stroke penalty in a stroke play event or loss of hole in a match play event.  A benefit resulting from this change is that the player who places his feet in position for a stroke from the bunker and then watches as the wind or gravity causes the ball to move from its original position will no longer be penalized one stroke under Rule 18-2b and the player would play the ball where it comes to rest, unless he caused the movement by some other action.  Many times players were penalized and they did not do anything to make the ball move.

Three prominent examples of when a gust of wind influenced a ball at rest were: Padraig Harrington at the 2009 Masters, Fredrik Jacobson at the 2008 British Open and Rory McIroy at the 2011 British Open.  Each was charged a stroke.  Under the revised rule, this would not have happened.

Over the next few months I will cover the remaining changes and revisions so that you can start your season “Playing By the Rules”.

Frank Guastella, PGA Rules Official Michigan Section PGA

Staff Writer, Mike Fay Golf

If you have a question for Frank here’s where you can contact him.

Email:  fguastella@franklin-golf.net

To “follow” Frank on Twitter click here

To “like” Frank on Facebook click here

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