SOUTHPORT, England – Nick Faldo is calling for a level playing field for future rules transgressions, and for players and caddies to take more responsibility for knowing the rules.
Faldo made the statement ahead of an important announcement on Tuesday from the R&A and USGA on the Lexi Thompson ruling during this year’s ANA Inspiration. Thompson lost in a playoff to South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu after being retroactively assessed four penalty shots in the final round for incorrectly marking her ball in Round 3.
Faldo, speaking from Orlando during a teleconference with British journalists to promote this year’s British Open at Royal Birkdale, said the rules have to be applied evenly to all players. The six-time major champion said there is currently unfairness in professional golf because players on camera come under more scrutiny than those off camera.
“The problem we have is if you are out at 8 o’clock in the morning and there are no TV cameras and nobody watching you and if you are out at 4 or 5 in the afternoon there is a rule difference,” Faldo said. “You can break exactly the same rule or do whatever infringement at two different times of the day, one on TV and one not on television, and you’ll get a different ruling. That’s the issue. They have got to get a level playing field whether somebody is watching you or not. That’s the big key for me.”
The governing bodies are expected to make sure the Thompson situation does not crop up in future with Tuesday’s key announcement. Among the options are to end trial by television, making sure retroactive penalties are not applied, or to rule that a player’s score cannot be altered once a scorecard has been signed and returned.
However, Faldo said the governing bodies need to make sure players take more responsibility for knowing the rules.
“The R&A and USGA need to be more proactive,” Faldo said. “But the players need to go for a rules seminar. There’s probably only two dozen rules that affect every day play on tour, and I think players just need to be really brought up to speed. They’ve got look after themselves. They’ve got to do it correctly and they’ve got to be 100 percent. Everybody needs to because there’s always so much confusion. The caddies need to know, too.
“The R&A, the USGA and the tours have just got to get to the players and they’ve got to be clear about what they do.”