When changes to the Rules of Golf were introduced earlier this year, the motive was to simplify them and, potentially, speed up play.
But, ahead of them being rolled out from January 1, 2019, Ryder Cup star Tony Finau is wary that one new ruling, regarding damage on the putting green (Rule 12.1), could actually slow play down.
Under the current Rules of Golf, golfers are allowed to repair pitch marks on the putting green and old hole plugs. They are also allowed to repair spike marks on the putting green, unless the repair can affect the movement of the ball (which typically will be the case if they are on the line of putt).
But under the proposed new Rules of Golf, golfers are allowed to repair all damage to the putting green, except aeration holes, natural defects and natural wear. It means golfers are always allowed to repair spike marks (also those in the line of putt) and animal footprints.
This new ruling concerns the American.
“Fixing really anything on the green, I think you're going to see a lot of people start to fix around the cup and any kind of spike marks, so I think that's probably going to be the biggest change,” said Finau, who was speaking ahead of the QBE Shootout.
“Hopefully that doesn't slow down play. Guys will be cleaning up the hole for a minute. We’ll see how that plays out.”
Finau is partnering Lexi Thompson in this week’s event, which is hosted by Greg Norman. Asked on her opinion of the new rules changes, Thompson – who has fallen foul of the Rules of Golf more than once over the past couple of years – refused to talk about the changes.
“I have no comment about any rules, sorry,” she said. “I'm not getting into it.”
Does Tony have a point?
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