"#RulesSchool is Now in Session" is a series where you’ll get an opportunity to check out some of the things going on here at the AJGA as our Operations staff prepares for the PGA/USGA Workshop on the Rules of Golf and the USGA Rules Exam. In addition to a “behind the scenes” look at our preparations, you will also have the opportunity to reach out to us via social media to ask your own questions about the Rules of Golf.
As many of you may have seen or heard, Tiger Woods suffered a two-stroke penalty during the second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after he and Martin Kaymer agreed his ball was embedded and he proceeded with his options for that rule. Unfortunately, they were mistaken in their assessment of the ball’s lie and Tiger’s procedure was incorrect.
The United States Golf Association’s Manager of Rules Communications, John Van der Borght, explains Rule 25-2 and Appendix I which addresses the situation Tiger found himself in. Below is an intro to the post, but be sure to read the post in its entirety on the USGA’s website.
John Van der Borght – USGA
“Sand and the Rules of Golf again made headlines on Jan. 18 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Last year, Rory McIlroy had a run-in with sand on his line of play which cost him a penalty of two strokes (to read about that, Click Here). During the second round of this year’s championship, Tiger Woods incurred a two-stroke penalty on the fifth hole for mistakenly taking relief when his ball was embedded in a sandy area off the fairway.”
As the USGA points out in its article, major rulings affect PGA TOUR professionals regularly, and whenever a player is in doubt about a rules situation, it is always best to find a rules official. In AJGA competitions, players are also able to play Rule 3-3 after announcing to fellow competitors their intention. As Tiger unfortunately found out, getting a ruling from another player does not absolve a player from penalty of a broken rule.
“Had Woods consulted with an official before proceeding on his own, he would have been informed that while relief could not be taken under the Local Rule, he had two options: play the ball as it lay without penalty or declare it unplayable and taken relief with a one-stroke penalty.
The AJGA’s operations department prepares all year through rules school and trainsto be knowledgeable rules officials It is a standard at AJGA events to have one rules official for every three to four groups on the course, and the AJGA takes great pride in staffing its events with enough rules to be able to handle our members’ questions that arise during each round..
So now, if you ever find yourself in a situation with an embedded ball, remember to consult Rule 25-2, Appendix I, and always find a rules official when in doubt.
Stephanie Dittmer (@AJGADittmer)