New Golf Rule Proves Tiger Was Right

November 19, 2013

new golf rule tiger woodsEarlier 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.

  • Will Skeat

    Tiger wasn’t right — the rule was in effect at the time of his infraction. Furthermore, this decision was in the works well before Tiger]s incident at the BMW.

    • chicagoduffer

      You’re definitely correct, however it seems interesting that Tiger’s situation happened at the BMW and now we coincidentally have a rule change that completely and totally addresses his EXACT situation. Call me a skeptic.

  • Doug Ferguson of AP — a guy who knows his stuff — tweeted this yesterday:

    “FWIW, new decision on HD and the naked eye was its sixth draft when the Tiger incident happened at BMW.”

    Furthermore, the change in the rule doesn’t prove that Tiger was right about the incident, it just means that in the future he won’t get caught when he gives himself the benefit of the doubt – something the Rules of Golf don’t normally do.

    The really unfortunate thing about the whole twig/ball interaction incident at the BMW Championship is that Tiger didn’t have the good grace to accept the ruling without bellyaching about it.

    • chicagoduffer

      While it is true the new rule was in its sixth draft, it is hard for me to believe that the roll-out of the new rule in 2014 literally months after Tiger’s situation is a mere coincidence.