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November 19, 2013

The USGA and the R&A Announce Changes to “Decisions on the Rules of Golf”

As part of a continuing commitment to provide greater clarity to the Rules of Golf, the United States Golf Association (USGA) and The R&A, golf’s governing bodies, today announced revisions to the 2012-2013 edition of “Decisions on the Rules of Golf.” The changes, part of a customary two-year Decisions review cycle, become effective on January 1, 2014.

“Decisions on the Rules of Golf, 2014-2015” contains more than 1,200 entries addressing specific situations under the Rules of Golf. A total of 87 changes have been made to the 2012-2013 Decisions book: three new Decisions, 59 revised Decisions, one re-numbered Decision and 24 Decisions withdrawn.

“The Rules of Golf are constantly evolving,” said Thomas Pagel, USGA senior director of the Rules of Golf. “The Decisions review process is an opportunity for The R&A and the USGA to continue to help make the game more understandable and accessible for players, officials and others who participate in the game.”

David Rickman, The R&A’s executive  director – Rules and Equipment Standards, said, “It is important to consider carefully new developments in the game and that is reflected in the new Decisions on the Rules which give greater clarity on the use of smart phones and advanced video technology.”

Among the changes for 2014-2015, four decisions are particularly noteworthy:

  • New Decision 14-3/18 confirms that players can access reports on weather conditions on a smartphone during a round without breaching the Rules. Importantly, this new Decision also clarifies that players are permitted to access information on the threat of an impending storm in order to protect their own safety.
  • New Decision 18/4 provides that, where enhanced technological evidence (e.g. HDTV, digital recording or online visual media, etc.) shows that 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. The USGA and The R&A have issued a Statement on the Use of Video and Other Visual Evidence to further explain the governing bodies’ position on the use of this technology.
  • Revised Decision 25-2/0.5 helps to clarify when a golf ball is considered to be embedded in the ground through the use of illustrations.
  • Revised Decision 27-2a/1.5 allows a player to go forward up to approximately 50 yards without forfeiting his or her right to go back and play a provisional ball.

The full text of the revisions to “Decisions on the Rules of Golf” and of the Joint Statement can be found at www.usga.org and at www.RandA.org. A downloadable infographic is also available on the USGA’s website to help golf facilities, professionals and associations educate golfers on the changes to the Decisions.

Printed copies of “The Rules of Golf” and “Decisions on the Rules of Golf, 2014-2015” are also available from the USGA and The R&A.

(In the context of this news release, The R&A refers to R&A Rules Ltd)

About the USGA

The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s working jurisdiction comprises the United States, its territories and Mexico.

The USGA is a global leader in the development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and funds an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” charitable giving program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries.

For more information about the USGA, visit www.usga.org.

About The R&A

R&A Rules Ltd is the rules-making company of The R&A. Based in St Andrews, The R&A organises The Open Championship, major amateur events and international matches. Together with the United States Golf Association, The R&A governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The R&A’s working jurisdiction is global, excluding the United States and Mexico.

The R&A is committed to working for golf and supports the growth of the game internationally and the development and management of sustainable golf facilities. The R&A operates with the consent of 149 organisations from the amateur and professional game and on behalf of over thirty million golfers in 135 countries.

For more information about The R&A visit www.RandA.org.

Media Contacts:

Joe Goode, USGA Communications                                  Dan Hubbard, USGA Communications

jgoode@usga.org; (908) 470-5008                                    dhubbard@usga.org; (908) 326-1881

Mobile: (908) 635-0412                                                          Mobile: (860) 248-9616

 

Malcolm Booth, The R&A                                                      Mike Woodcock, The R&A

MalcolmBooth@RandA.org                                                  MikeWoodcock@RandA.org

+44 (0)1334 460000                                                               +44 (0)1334 460000

+44 (0)7917 759042                                                               +44 (0)7584 071246