Rules of Golf :: Five to be punished

2015 03 459395336
• Exam introduced for LET rookies to build rules knowledge
• You can register to take an online course on R&A website
• Five golfers who have fallen foul of the game's rules!


Have you ever fallen foul of the Rules of Golf? You won’t be alone. And now, Ladies European Tour rookies will take an R&A exam to sharpen up their knowledge of the rules.

Through an impressive course on the R&A website, endorsed by Working for Golf ambassadors Padraig Harrington and Suzann Pettersen, the R&A hope to promote an understanding of etiquette across all areas of the game of golf.

The online rules academy features the most commonly occurring situations, with videos, images and diagrams to offer support with an opportunity to complete the R&A Level 1 Rules Exam at the end of the course.
“Having a good grasp of etiquette and the most commonly occurring rules is of benefit to all golfers" - David Rickman

LET rookies are now being required to take the course and complete the exam, in order to highlight the importance of the Rules of Golf, with certificates handed out once they have passed.

David Rickman, executive director of the rules and equipment standards for the R&A, said: “Having a good grasp of etiquette and the most commonly occurring rules is of benefit to all golfers, whether you are a beginner or experienced, or even an elite player on the LET.”

Even the best players fall foul of the Rules of Golf, and we’ve picked out five occasions where there have been severe consequences!

Maybank Malaysian Open - Day Two

Graeme McDowell

Back in 2012 at the BMW PGA Championship, the Northern Irishman was undone by the television cameras. After a wayward drive into a bed of leaves, on approaching the ball, McDowell inadvertently caused it to move a fraction. Unaware, he hacked out but replays revealed that malpractice had taken place. McDowell was penalised one shot for causing the ball to move and another for not replacing it. Add in a bogey six on the hole and he went from one-under to two-over in an instant. Ouch!

Tom Lehman

At the 1997 Open Championship, in defence of his title, the American was asked by playing partner Vijay Singh during the second round to move his ball marker as it was on the Fijian’s line. Lehman forgot to return his marker to its original place before putting, and only realised his error on the next tee, landing himself with a two-shot penalty.

HSBC Women's Champions - Day Four

Michelle Wie

During the final round of the Kia Classic in 2010, the former world No.1 grounded her club in a hazard. Going for the green in two on a par-5, Wie’s ball landed near the edge of a greenside lake. With her right foot in the water, the American tried to splash out but the ball remained within the hazard line. At that point, Wie touched her club in the grass beside her, incurring a two-shot penalty which turned a great par save into a double bogey.

Bernhard Langer

With a par required to win the Greg Norman Holden Classic in Sydney in 1999, the German did what he described as the dumbest thing he’s ever done on the course. A pretty basic mistake too, really. He picked up his ball marker without putting his ball down first and, in doing so, suffered a one-shot penalty and missed out on a fantastic opportunity to win the competition.

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship - Day Three

Rory McIlroy

Even the best player in the world can make mistakes on the course, and this one in particular at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in 2014 angered McIlroy. He was informed by Dave Renwick (pictured above with McIlroy), the caddie of playing partner Ricardo Gonzalez, before signing his card that he had not taken full relief from a spectator crossing. It was determined that McIlroy’s left foot had touched the white line, and a two-shot penalty was applied. After the penalty, a frustrated McIlroy said he had “better things to think about” than keep up-to-date with the rules.

The Rules of Golf? :: Your thoughts

Have you ever fallen victim to the Rules of Golf? Let us know in the 'Comments' section below.

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