Should the US Golf Association change Rule 18-2b

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In light of the penalty Webb Simpson incurred during the final round of the Zurich Classic, should the U.S. Golf Association change Rule 18-2b? Rex Hoggard and Jason Sobel weigh in with their takes.

By REX HOGGARD

Rule 18-2b is not a bad edict, just out of date, which is why the U.S. Golf Association said on Monday it has been reviewing it since at least 2004.

And why it must be changed, sooner rather than later.

Know this about James Frederick Webb Simpson, he is a devout Christian and a fierce competitor with a ridiculously long name.

What he is not is a rabble-rouser, which is why his pointed comments late Sunday regarding the archaic rule that cost him a stroke, and probably his first PGA Tour title, should not be taken lightly or out of context.

“The problem with the rule is you get greens like this that they get pretty bare, almost like this table top, wind's blowing, balls can wiggle and move so easily,” said Simpson, who was penalized a stroke when his ball moved on the 15th green at the Zurich Classic.

When the forefathers concocted 18-2b a sheep’s appetite decided green speeds, which in modern terms hovered just north of scruffy.

At next month’s U.S. Open, officials plan to run Congressional’s greens at 14 to 14 ½ on the Stimpmeter. At those speeds it takes a sneeze, not a zephyr to move a ball.

At those speeds, it’s time for 18-2b to catch up.

By JASON SOBEL

Webb Simpson was the victim of an unfortunate incident that cost him his first career PGA Tour win.

What a shame.

No one is arguing that there was intent to hit the ball at that very moment and certainly there are no claims that he was attempting to skirt the rules.

Like I said, it's a shame. It doesn't, however, mean the lords who preside over the game's rules should change it. In doing so, they would be walking a slippery slope.

I'm all for progression, but since when are long-standing Rules of Golf altered based on bad luck? Think about the precedent this would set. The next time a player loses because his perfect final-hole drive lands in a fairway divot, will that rule be changed? How about when a tourney is lost because a player unknowingly grounds his club in a hazard?

The point is, rules are rules and to alter this one right now would be simply reactionary.

For as long as the game has been played, competitors have learned to not ground their putters in case the ball moves. It's part of the game. Those who do otherwise are playing with fire and like Simpson, can someday be burned.

The USGA and R&A shouldn't offer a fire extinguisher.