USGA Regional Affairs Committee
UNITED STATES GOLF ASSOCIATION
Much ado about nothing from tour 2019 has brought new rules that have been highly visible with TV coverage of the PGA Tour Players. Most college coaches have been very active in having rules presentations for their players to ensure there is a good understanding of the rules to avoid any slipups or misunderstandings. The USGA has been proactive at tour events beginning with the initial 2019 tournament to help players understand the changes. Unlike the college players, there is no one that can require the professionals to attend any session. My observation is that there have been virtually no issues in college or other amateur events resulting from the 2019 changes. So, why the issues on the PGA Tour? In my professional life (not golf), I was required to understand laws and regulations that were associated with my profession. I don’t recall a regulatory agency asking me what I thought about those regulations. And yet, we hear that some Tour Professionals want to regulate themselves with their own rules. In my opinion, this view is extremely short-sighted. What would happen if the
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PGA Tour had its own set of rules and players from that tour play other events like The Open where the R&A have set the rules or other events around the globe? CHAOS! It appears that some of the tour pros view the USGA and their rules officials as uneducated amateurs. That is interesting in that most of those players have grown up playing in events that were administered by those same people. Those people were capable enough to assist those players reaching their current level, but all of a sudden, they are no longer knowledgeable enough to work with tour professionals? For the most part, yes, those rules people are amateurs, in that they are not paid for their work, but certainly not uneducated. The day before writing this column, I saw that a tour pro advocated for a change
in a rule that has been around perhaps from the original rules. Play the ball as it lies. I found an interesting interpretation. “Take responsibility for your own actions or face the adversity.” While I hesitate to compare golf to other sports, what if the running back said that he didn’t intend to step out of bounds, so that touchdown should count because he didn’t mean to step out? Ludicrous? I think so. The Rules of Golf are a consolidated work of the USGA and The R&A. Those bodies are held responsible for preserving the integrity of the game of golf. Until all players, amateurs and professionals fully understand that responsibility versus making the game something different, a division will likely continue.
GOLF OKL AHOMA • APRIL/MAY 2019