The USGA just created a rule that we can all get on board with. It just makes sense.
Effective Jan. 1, courses and tournament committees can enact a Local Rule that says if you, your caddie, your partner or your equipment accidentally move a ball or ball marker on the putting green, there is no penalty and the ball should be replaced.
You may think this rule change is a product of the controversial decision made at the U.S. Open in June, but it was actually in the process of being created before that.
“We’re golfers, too, and when we saw players penalized for minor movement of a ball on the putting green, it didn’t sit well with us,” says Thomas Pagel, senior director of the Rules of Golf and amateur status for the USGA. “I do hope people are excited about the change and it’s well received.”
The reaction from professional tournament organizers has been extremely positive. All the major pro tours, and the Masters, have confirmed they will use the new rule in 2017. That’s what really matters anyways. We don’t want another U.S. Open debacle, and the tournament organizers probably don’t either.
Basically this prevents accidents from effecting the game as much as they currently do. Remember, this is accidental, so if you use your foot wedge on the green, this rule will not save you from your playing partner.
No all the USGA needs to do is get rid of the 200+ rules we don’t need.