Doug Hoffmann fields Q&As on USGA’s Groove Condition

Players attempting to qualify for all USGA amateur and women’s amateur championships must play conforming clubs. Prior to this year, the condition applied only to the three USGA “Open” events – US Open, US Women’s Open and US Senior Open.
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From Inside the Ropes

By Alicia Eckman, MGA. This weekend at Merion there have been many rulings come into play, whether it was an unplayable bunker lie or a water hazard there have been drops and strokes added. This is when we catch a glimpse of a rules official helping make the right call. So what is it these rules officials do? How many are there? The MGA’s Lisa Overom is inside the ropes this week officiating group and … Continue reading

Tigergate — By The Rules

This past Saturday morning, the worlds of golf and sport came to a collective standstill as the Rules Committee at the Masters decided the fate of Tiger cheap camel cigarettes Woods. Would they? Could they? Did they dare disqualify him for violating a Rule that resulted in his signing an incorrect score card? There was a media frenzy with everyone having an opinion. Social media was alive with theories. Even the participants in the Rules … Continue reading

Did Masters’ officials do right by Decision 33-7/4.5?

In assessing Tiger Woods a two-stroke penalty (for breach of Rule 26-1) rather than a DQ for signing an incorrect score card, did Masters tournament officials correctly invoke their right to waive a DQ penalty on the four-time Masters champion? Read the text of the official statement delivered by Fred Ridley, the chair of the competition committee: “Yesterday afternoon, the Rules Committee was made aware of a possible Rules violation that involved a drop by … Continue reading

Anchors Away: Golf’s Governors Pull Plug on Anchoring the Club

The R&A and the USGA (the game’s governing bodies) today announced a proposed rules change that prohibits anchoring the club in making a stroke. In a global news conference televised by the Golf Channel, the R&A’s Peter Dawson and the USGA’s Mike Davis explained that the rules-makers were seeing an increase in “the advocacy” of the anchored stroke at the elite amateur and junior levels, and that “in the best interests of the game moving forward,” it … Continue reading

Anchors Away?

Word is surfacing that the USGA is very close to announcing some sort of ban on anchored putting strokes – in other words, long and belly putters that are held against the body in some fashion to lessen the possibility of a wobbly stroke. This is really the biggest issue facing golf today? This is the legal battle for which the USGA is willing to put up its $250 million war chest? During the past … Continue reading

Did Webb Simpson save the long putter?

The USGA and R&A have been discussing the future of the long-handled putter for several years, and at times they seemed on the verge of announcing a ban. Now that Webb Simpson has won the USGA’s premier event, the U.S. Open, that is less likely to happen. There are certainly legitimate reasons to consider an outright ban on long putters and belly putters: Anchoring a club to one’s chin, chest or belly is unlike all … Continue reading

Zach didn’t move it back

Zach Johnson spaced out on one of the simplest and most common situations in golf at the recent Crowne Plaza Invitational at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Tex. On the last hole, with a three-shot lead over Jason Dufner, Johnson’s ball was on Dufner’s putting line, so he moved his ball marker one putter’s head length — then forgot to move it back. He putted out, and incurred a two-stroke penalty that would … Continue reading

Your ball moved. No penalty anymore? Not so fast.

Many golfers rejoiced when the USGA and the R&A announced a rule change, effective beginning in 2012, that a player would no longer be assumed to have caused a ball at rest to have moved prior to a stroke being made. Previously, if a player addressed the ball and it then moved (typically, on the green), the player was deemed in all cases to have caused the ball to move — whether in fact he … Continue reading