THE CHANGES THAT (PRETTY MUCH) AFFECT ONLY TOUR PROS
1. You can use a damaged club, even if you broke it in anger. A question – why would you want to use a damaged club?
2. Caddies can stand behind a player’s line. They can also mark the ball. That does save time.
3. You can’t be second guessed by video replay re: a drop or a distance. This makes sense as it will keep players in the tournament if the discrepancy is discovered much later than when the player signed his card.
THE CHANGES WE DON’T LIKE
1. It’s not a penalty to accidentally move your ball on the green. That’s fine, but what’s “accidentally?” My guess is we got the original rule banning moving the ball at all because people would – oops – bump into their ball and see what break there was on the green. (By the way, how does this speed up the game?)
It’s gets dumber though – according to the new rules “You are only considered to have caused your ball to move if it is virtually certain (at least 95 percent likely) that you were the cause.” What, do you have a machine to quantify it? Can you see the arguments? “I was only 94% sure, well I was 96!” Quick! Ian Clarke! We need you to invent a quanti-ficator!
2. There’s no penalty if you accidentally move your ball while searching for it, you get t replace it, recreating the lie…but, again, what’s accidentally?? And how do you police the replacement when the movement was only seen by the guy moving it?
3. It’s no penalty if you ACCIDENTALLY hit your caddie, bag or any equipment. Again, the idea is great, but the implementation leads to problems. As long as guys can’t set their spare clubs on a green in a place where it might stop a wayward putt – sort of use them as a backstop – it’s fine, but some plares will get some really good breaks from this one.
4. You can ground your club in a hazard. Of all the rules changes, I hate this one the most. Remember when Bond played Goldfinger in golf, and Goldfinger would mash down rough with his 3-wood, saying can I get a 3-wood to this lie?” And by the time he got done gardening, of course he could get a 3-wood to that lie! I thought you were supposed to suffer some sort of penalty if you hit it in a hazard?
5. You can use distance finders. This just made the game more expensive, because everyone will need one. Plus it took a skill out of the game – distance analysis. Thanks for dumbing down the game.
With the new rules, I have a feeling we’re still gong to get arguments, just different ones from before. But we also need at least two years of data to see how players are dealing with the changes. Just like anything else, there’s no point to rushing to judgment. Let’s stop talking about what they say, and see how they play…