Earlier this week, the USGA and R&A decided to make 87 updates to the Rules of Golf. Of all the new golf rule changes — most of which were minute and won’t impact the majority of golfers — the biggest impact is sure to come from what many are calling the “Tiger Rule”.
As ESPN’s Bob Harig explains, Decision 18/4 speaks specifically to that nasty rules snafu that Tiger Woods found himself wrapped up in at the 2013 BMW Championship. You know, that whole “oscillating ball” thing.
The United States Golf Association and R&A — the game’s rules-making bodies — announced Tuesday some 87 changes or additions to its decisions, the most prominent of which is new Decision 18/4, which addresses the use of high-definition or slow-motion video to detect whether a ball has left its position and come to rest in another location.
“The ball will not be deemed to have moved if that movement was not reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time,” according to the new decision.
While I feel this decision is long overdue and shows the USGA and R&A may actually be forward-thinking, what it also proves is that Tiger was right all along.
If Tiger really believed that his golf ball did not move — and instead just oscillated a bit — it is evident that his argument was heard loud and clear by the folks responsible for enforcing and updating the Rules of Golf.
There are really only two ways to look at the inclusion of this new Decision:
1) Tiger made a strong enough argument to defend his stance that his golf ball did not move; or
2) The USGA/R&A constructed this Decision to avoid any similar situations in the future.
Either way, Tiger (technically) wins. If the first assumption is true, then Tiger has been proven right and he should not have received the penalty. If the second is true, then Tiger’s situation proves a gaping grey area in the Rules and should not have been used to his detriment at the BMW.
The new golf decisions will be effective January 1, 2014.