PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Justin Rose began Sunday’s final round two strokes closer to the lead than he had originally thought after the PGA Tour reversed a two-stroke penalty it had assessed Saturday. The reversal came thanks to a new rule that was implemented to protect players from violations that can be seen only through high-definition devices and sophisticated technology.
Rose was assessed the penalty on Saturday after his ball moved on the 18th hole after he had addressed it. After three separate reviews of the incident using high-definition cameras and highly magnified images, officials ruled it was a violation of Rule 18-2b and he was assessed a two-stroke penalty, one shot for the ball moving at address and one for not replacing it after it had moved.
But an adjustment to the Decisions of Golf (Decision 18-4) was implemented last year so that “The ball will not be deemed to have moved if that movement was not reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time.”
Late Saturday, PGA Tour vice president of rules and competitions Mark Russell told GolfChannel.com that the new rule didn’t apply to Rose’s situation because “It's not as though he didn't see anything and then it came up because of high-definition television. He saw something and backed off; that's why the high-definition rule didn't apply.”
But after further review, officials rescinded the penalty based on the new decision.
“This has never been used before,” Russell said Sunday. “It’s a situation where it protects the player. We asked for this decision and this is exactly why this rule is in there.”
Russell said the issue was readdressed on Sunday morning when the rules committee arrived at TPC Sawgrass at about 7:30 a.m.
After a 45-minute discussion, officials asked the governing bodies – the Royal & Ancient and U.S. Golf Association – for advice at 10 a.m. and an hour later the committee decided to rescind the ruling.
“It’s pretty complicated, really,” said Russell, who confirmed to GolfChannel.com that both organizations agreed with the implementation of the new decision. “This isn’t going to happen every day.”
Rose was informed at 11:40 a.m. (ET) Sunday, about an hour before his final-round tee time, that the penalty had been withdraw under the new rule.
“Overnight I read an article that explained the (high-definition) rule and I kind of thought it applied to my case,” Rose said following a final-round 69 for a 10-under total. “I didn’t see how my case was any different than what I read.”
Rose was given a par on the 18th hole, instead of a double-bogey-6, and moved into a tie for eighth, five strokes off the lead, although his final-round tee time remained the same despite the change to his score.
Read the PGA Tour's statement on the rescinding of the penalty.