This revision to Decision 33-7/4.5, effective immediately, addresses the situation where a player is not aware he has breached a rule because of facts that he did not know and could not have discovered prior to returning his scorecard. Under this revised decision and at the discretion of the committee, the player still receives the penalty associated with the breach of the underlying rule, but is not disqualified.
In revising the decision, the R&A and the USGA confirm that the disqualification penalty still applies for scorecard breaches that arise from ignorance of the rules. As such, this decision reinforces that it is still the responsibility of the player to know the rules, while recognizing that there may be some situations where it is reasonable that a player is unaware of the factual circumstances of a breach.
“For some time we have been concerned that, in certain limited circumstances, disproportionate disqualification penalties have been required by the Rules,” said Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A. “This carefully considered decision reflects our desire to ensure that the Rules of Golf remain fair and relevant in the changing environment in which the game is played today.”
Said Mike Davis, executive director of the USGA: “This is a logical and important step in our re-evaluation of the impact of high-definition video on the game. We collectively believe that this revised decision addresses many video-related issues never contemplated by the Rules of Golf.”