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Paul Casey talks to officials after wind blew his ball on the green at the 2008 Masters.


penalty and the ball is played from its new position. Some of the factors involved include: Any actions taken near the ball; How much time elapsed


+ +


between those actions and the move- ment of the ball; How the ball lay before it


moved;


+ +


The conditions of the ground


near the ball (e.g., degree of slope); and


+ Wind, rain or other weather


conditions. During the recent Goodwin


Invitational, a men’s collegiate stroke-play event hosted by Stan- ford University, the new Rule came into effect on two specific occasions where the weight of evidence stan- dard absolved players of a penalty they would have likely incurred prior to the Rules change. In both circumstances, the


Tom Watson


couldn’t tell if his ball moved on No.7 at this


year’s Masters.


player’s ball moved after it had been addressed. In 2015, Rule 18-2b would have deemed the player to have caused the movement unless it was known or virtually certain that some other observable factor caused the ball to move. Decision 18-2/0.5 guided the Committee to take all the factors surrounding the incident into consideration. In each case, the ball had come to rest on a significant slope and there was more than a brief delay between the address and movement of the ball. As each player stated they had only grounded their club lightly and clearly saw the ball did not move upon grounding the club, the weight of evidence suggest- ed it was less likely than not that the player did not cause the movement. Both players played the ball from its new position and did not incur a penalty. The Rules can be complex but


this Rule change is clearly in favor of the player and presuming the honorable golfer. Just remember, if you do cause the ball the move—put it back.


Ryan Farb is the NCGA’s Director of Rules and Competitions SPRING 2016 / NCGA.ORG / 63


PHOTOS: AP


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