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LPGA gets taste of new rules starting at Diamond Resorts

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Stacy Lewis really likes one of the rule changes in effect this year.

She likes the ban on caddies aligning players for shots and putts.

The practice has always been more prevalent in LPGA than PGA Tour events, but you won’t see it in this week’s LPGA season opener, the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, or any other events.

“No lining up is the greatest change in all the rules,” Lewis said.

Brittany Lincicome and her long-time caddie, Missy Pederson, are among tandems who will be getting used to new routines. Lincicome was among pros who used her caddie for alignment.

“The lining up thing is going to be fine,” Lincicome said. “I know how to do it. I play every day of my life at home without my caddie lining me up.”

Lincicome said adjusting to the ban has been more about changing her routine with Pederson.

“You know how everybody has their kind of trigger, in their pre-shot routine?” Lincicome said. “Mine was always Missy lining me up. And when she said I was good, that was my time to hit the ball. It was kind of my trigger.”

The USGA held a rules workshop for LPGA officials in December. The USGA also had representatives on the range Tuesday at Tranquilo Golf Club to help LPGA players with questions.

“The rules officials might be a little busier this week,” Lydia Ko said.

Ariya Jutanugarn joked that the new drop rule may significantly help diminutive players, like her sister, Moriya. The new rule requires players to make drops from the height of their knees.

“I feel like my sister is going to be cheating, her knees are so low,” Jutanugarn cracked.