There’s a lot of really stupid rules in golf, but the USGA and R&A finally shed themselves of one of the more ridiculous ones on Monday.
Rule 18-2b stipulated that if a player addresses the ball and it moves — for any reason — they would automatically be assessed a one-stroke penalty and ordered to replace their ball. The rule was loosened in 2012 so that if it was “virtually certain” that something other than a golfer caused the ball to move — the wind, for example — you could replace the ball with no penalty.
The change definitely made the rule better, but it didn’t fix the problem completely. Especially when players faced windy conditions; delays were constant as players backed off their shots the moment it looked like it was about to move. Players would sometimes call penalties on themselves because they were so unsure what caused their ball to move.
But now the USGA and R&A are scrapping the rule altogether. A penalty will only be assessed in the facts prove that the player directly caused the ball to move.
According to the official release:
Withdrawal of Rule on Ball Moving After Address – Rule 18-2b (Ball Moving After…