AUSTIN, Texas — With the first significant match play event arriving since the Jan. 1 debut of the revamped Rules of Golf, there are changes specific to the format.
For those exhausted by rules chaos, the most notable changes employed by the USGA and R&A involve dated terminology and softening in some penalties.
- The word “halve” is out, “tying” a hole is in. This was driven by the rules attempting to employ more commonly used language.
- Match “score” is now the correct terminology instead of “status” of the match. Score one for the blue collar linguists.
- In the old rules what we know to be asking or requesting a ruling was called “making a claim.” But since this isn’t the insurance business, the rule-makers have adopted “request a ruling.”
- The penalty has been eliminated for accidentally moving an opponent’s ball or ball-marker on the putting green. (Used to be a one-stroke penalty.)
- There is no penalty when a ball in motion accidentally hits the opponent, their caddie or the opponent’s equipment. But the ball must be played where it lies, except on the putting green where the stroke does not count and must be replayed. Previously, a match play opponent could ask for the shot to be replayed.
- No longer is there a penalty for stopping an opponent’s ball in motion as long as there is no reasonable chance the moving ball could go in the hole. This is the Jordan Spieth-in-the-Presidents Cup rule, when he scooped up Louis Oosthuizen’s ball after an eagle attempt moved by the hole. Previously this was a loss of hole.