Rules Changes Made for 2008

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USGAFAR HILLS, N.J. ' Beginning in 2008, a golfer will be allowed to lift a ball for identification in a bunker or water hazard. However, there now will be a two-stroke penalty for playing a wrong ball from a hazard. In match play, the penalty will be loss of hole.
 
These notable changes to Rules 12-2 and 15-3, which have been under consideration for several years, are among the amendments to the Rules of Golf agreed upon by the United States Golf Association and R&A Rules Limited that will be in effect starting Jan. 1, 2008.
 
Another notable change is the reduction in penalty in Rule 4-1 for carrying, but not using, a non-conforming club from disqualification to, in stroke play, a penalty of two strokes per hole, with a maximum penalty of four strokes for the round.
 
The penalty for the accidental deflection of a ball by a player, his partner or either of their caddies or equipment under Rule 19-2, will be reduced to one penalty stroke in both match play and stroke play. (In 2007, the penalty was loss of hole in match play and two strokes in stroke play.)