OK Here are the Rules


As 2006 begins, more than a hundred new or changed interpretations of the Rules of Golf take effect. They can be found in the newest edition of the helpful book, Decisions on the Rules of Golf, which the U.S. Golf Association publishes every two years in conjunction with its partner in golf governance, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.
Most of these changes will prevent the rules from operating in unintended and annoying ways. Just ask Jesper Parnevik and Mark Roe, who were marking for each other at the 2003 British Open and each reported the correct score, but on the each others (that is, the wrong) cards. They got an early trip home for it, courtesy of DQ (and I dont mean Dairy Queen). Now such administrative errors can be corrected by the tournament committee.
Well, you can take the golfer out of the lawyer biz, but its tough to pry the pin-striped, hyper-detail-oriented, obsessive legislative geek out of the golfer. So in the spirit of enlightened rulemaking, here are a few of my proposals for Supplemental Rules of Golf that should make everyone happier in 2006. There will be no comment period, and the rules will take effect immediately.
DRIVER ENVY. A player shall do his best to strike a decent tee ball without delay occasioned by bragging about the new war stick he or she received for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Boxing Day. Enforcement of this rule may be waived by the committee, unless the offender uses terms such as Linda Ronstadt (Blew By You) or announces loudly that his drive is a monster, even as it lands in ankle-high Kikuyu. Penalty for breach: In stroke play, loud derision from everyone else in the four-ball while a cell phone call is made to the offenders third-grade crush. In match play, wearing of a Charles Barkley tee-shirt until all players have putted out on the hole.
LONG IRON MISUSE. No player with a Handicap Index of more than 10 shall carry or use a 2- or 3-iron UNLESS said player can demonstrate the ability to hit the club(s) at least 180 yards with no more than 15 yards of dispersion. Penalty for breach: The player will be made to continue to use the long iron, and will miss greens he could have hit with a hybrid until his head or his Handicap Index explodes, whichever comes first (although its likely to be simultaneous).
PRACTICE. Any player who is serious about improving his or her game will sign a pledge to stop banging drivers endlessly on the range, and will further promise to earn every 30 minutes of full-swing practice with at least 60 minutes of putting, pitching and chipping practice. Penalty for breach: In stroke play, loss of perspective. In match play, repeated glares from your alternate shot partner as you rack up three-putts and demonstrate the wedge feel of an uneducated brick.
SLOW PLAY. Re-teeing after striking a ball that lands in play, dawdling, on-course-lesson-giving, not being prepared to play when it is your turn, and failing to behave as if you realize that golf is a communal activity shall be punishable by imposition of Cleveland Browns season tickets or death, at the option of the offender.
MOST IMPORTANT RULE. Any player shall, when the game stops being fun, take a break, get a life, and regain perspective. Penalty for breach: No penalty necessary.
EQUIPMENT COLUMNISTS PROTECTION RULE. The Equipment Columnist shall not be buffeted by e-mails deriding his golf swing, writing style, or haircut. Penalty for breach: Oh yeah; like anyones going to follow this one anyway.
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