Some Rules Explained - still working on this section...and we may include a quiz!
New rules are proposed for coming into effect January 2019 - they will be considered during 2018 and amended if required.
WGC-DELL MATCHPLAY - March 2017
English professional, Tyrell Hutton was victim of two penalty points this week at the WGC-Dell Matchplay in Austin, Texas due to a rules infraction. At the first extra hole of a three-way play-off he put the ball within 12 feet of the hole. Missing this birdie putt he was left with a tap-in for par to equal his opponents. Unfortunately he accidentally nudged the ball with his putter as he set up and didn't replace it in its original position. He said he: "...clipped the ball and knocked it a centimetre forward." Due to a fairly recent new rule, had he replaced it he would have avoided any penalty.
Charles Howell III went on to win the event over Rafa Cabrera Bello.
Hutton claims he has never had a putting lesson and relies on confidence and feel. He likes to keep it really simple citing freedom of thought and "...confidence plays a big part...". He keeps a light grip and, when practising, tends to concentrate on the start gate of the putt - the initial line to start the roll. His routine during play is to look at the hole, take 4-5 practice strokes and then just putt.
PROPOSED RULE CHANGES - March 2017
The R&A and USPGA have thought of amendments to the rules of golf to simplify and speed up the game. These amendments are still only proposed and, if implemented, will not come into effect until 1st January 2019. Here are proposed new rules pertaining to putting:-
Relaxed putting green rules: There will be no penalty if a ball played from the putting green hits an unattended flagstick in the hole; players may putt without having the flagstick attended or removed. Players may repair spike marks and other damage made by shoes, animal damage and other damage on the putting green and there is no penalty for merely touching the line of putt.
If you want to read about the other rules, or have your say, click on www.randa.org/News/2017/03/Preview-of-proposed-new-Rules-of-Golf-unveiled-by-RandA-and-USGA .
NEWS from January 2017
What do you do if the ball moves? After replacing your ball on the green and the strong wind obviously causes it to move, you play it from its new position....even if you had grounded your club behind the ball - as long as you or your action did not cause the ball to move. If you cause it to accidentally move at address it is no longer a one shot penalty but you must replace the ball.
From 1st January 2017 the USGA and R&A waived a ruling that was brought to light in the US Open 2016 at Oakmont. You may recall that on the fifth green Dustin Johnson was given a one shot penalty when his ball moved.
This penalty has now been eliminated. To clarify: If a ball on the green moves accidentally by the player, partner, opponent, caddie or equipment it is just replaced in its original position - with no penalty (Rule 18.2, 18.3 and 20.1)
If the ball is moved on the green by wind, water or natural causes it is played from its new position.
IN OR OUT?
Can you gauge the distance easily or do you need the flag as a hole indicator? If your ball is just off the green you have the choice of having the flag left in, tended or taken out. On the green you must have it tended or taken out.
Make sure you have a clear green. It is usual for player to mark theirs ball by placing a ball marker (small round token) behind the ball. If a ball is unmarked and your putt hits it then it is a penalty. Likewise if your ball were to hit the flag lying on the putting surface.
You can, and should, always repair pitch marks but in most cases may not tamper with the edge of a damaged hole until after you have holed out. This would be deemed as touching your line of putt and is not permissible. Calling for a rules official to oversee a newly made pitch mark caused by a ball landing on the edge of a hole would be wise.
Brushing away loose impediments such as leaves or sand is allowed. It is best with a towel or cap. If you use your hand or putter then take care not to press down your line of putt. Spike marks or foot impressions can not be rectified.
Brushing away casual water, dew or frost is not allowed. However in professional tournaments green-staff with 'squeedgees' are called upon for removal of excess water!