The Forecaddie: PGA Tour takes stand with bunker liner rule

Charlie Hoffman hits a bunker. (Getty Images/Sam Greenwood Getty Images/Sam Greenwood

The Forecaddie: PGA Tour takes stand with bunker liner rule

Forecaddie

The Forecaddie: PGA Tour takes stand with bunker liner rule

The PGA Tour has wisely addressed the mini-trend of players magically struggling with footing when they also just so happen to have a buried lie in a bunker.

The Man Out Front is still grumpy about Charley Hoffman and Branden Grace both asking for and receiving relief from bunker shots in 2017. Both players just happened to have awful lies and claimed, as was their right, that modern bunker liners were preventing them from gaining any footing.

Grace’s incident happened at May’s BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour. The South African was buried in one of the recently renovated bunkers featuring the spray-on-style bunker liners that TMOF feels are more fad than functional fix for sand contamination.

Hoffman’s relief came as he was contending in the RBC Canadian Open, and the episode didn’t sit particularly well with The Forecaddie when the golfer was seen smiling after receiving relief from a fried egg that likely saved him a shot. Playing partner Kevin Chappell ribbed Hoffman, ultimately earning a guilty grin from the San Diegan and a comment caught on television: “Rules.”

It seems the rules have spoken, at least on the PGA Tour.

On the “hard card” rules sheet distributed to players at this week’s Farmers Insurance Open and at all Tour stops, the committee has instituted local rules that now permit “ a drop only if a player’s swing path is impacted by a
rogue liner.

“The Rules Committee may deem an exposed liner ground under repair. However, interference by a liner with a player’s stance is deemed not to be, of itself, interference under Rule 25-1.”

The rule is pertinent at Torrey Pines North, where such liners were installed during Tom Weiskopf’s renovation. (Plans call for a similar pricey installation on the South next year.) But as the season moves along to courses with the liners, TMOF is pleased he won’t have to yell at his television set again. At least not over players taking relief in hazards.

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