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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rules of Golf Proven To Be Too Complicated Again

PGA Tour pro withdraws (is disqualified?) after calling unusual penalty on himself Alex Myers for GolfDigest.com

Wilcox switched putters before his second round resumed. And after realizing his mistake -- technically, Wilcox violated Rule 4-4 by having more than 14 clubs in play during a round -- Wilcox called a penalty on himself. After conferring with a PGA Tour rules official, Wilcox believed he was disqualified.

It turns out the official got it wrong. Wilcox should have been given a 4-stroke penalty (2-strokes per hole with a 4-stroke max) and allowed to finish his round. Wilcox followed the ruling given, withdrew from the event, and left the course before completing his second round.

As Wilcox pointed out via his Twitter account even with the proper penalty he was very likely to miss the cut and seemed to be in good spirits about the whole thing.


No real harm was done in this situation. This does still become the latest example of how the rules of golf continue to be too complex. Wilcox realized he had made a mistake but he was unclear what the penalty actually was. When the PGA Tour rules official gets it wrong  it becomes clear that there is a problem.

The USGA and R&A are working to simplify the rules but the process is taking too long. The pace of change needs to increase before we end up with top players hiring legal council  to monitor their play and represent them in the scorer's tent.

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