Worst ruling of the year?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

NORTH PLAINS, Ore. – Worst rules decision of the year?

Yes.

At the Safeway Classic, the LPGA’s decision to allow players to lift, clean and place their balls in the first cut of rough was senseless, unnececssary and, worst of all, unfair.

Competitors had been playing practice rounds since Sunday – five days before the start of the tournament – and there were no complaints about the rough.

Regardless, the LPGA announced on Friday morning, just minutes before the initial starting times, that players would be allowed to lift, clean and place their balls in the first cut (within one club length, no closer to the hole, although they could not move a ball from rough to fairway).

Because the definition of first cut included the rough around the greens, players who missed greens were able to pluck their balls from unpredictable lies and replace them on top of the grass.

As a result, getting up-and-down from the rough was immeasurably easier. This was unfair to players who had hit the greens. It removed much of the advantage from players who followed the old doctrine of “fairways and greens, fairways and greens.”

The lift, cut and place rule remained in effect for Saturday’s second round.