Professional Golf Needs Rule Changes


Carl Pettersson

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t think anyone was going to beat Rory McIlroy at Kiahwah Island in September, but I think Carl Pettersson maybe got a raw deal at the PGA Championship when it was determined in the final round that he moved a leaf on his back swing while being in an area marked as a hazard, and incurred a penalty. It took the video people at least 20 minutes to confirm the infraction, and he wasn’t notified for at least a half an hour that he indeed moved the leaf. If it took that much effort to verify the mistake, was it really that big of a thing?

Petterrson was playing in the final round, and was notified of the mistake before he had a chance to sign an incorrect score card, and suffer a disqualification. The real travesty here is when an infraction is so obscure that no one see’s it until someone calls in, or tweets the mistake after the player has signed for his score. I feel like that’s totally unfair. has reported today that the European Tour, during their End of Season Rules Conference are taking a look at this problem. Members from the PGA, European Tour, and R&A are meeting this week along with volunteer officials to at least talk about it, I think this is a step in the right direction.

Golf is a very unique situation where players proudly step up to blow the whistle on themselves when they know they have made a mistake. All other sports depend on an officiating crew to police the rules, but from the beginning, every golfer depends on the honesty factor to supposedly police themselves.

I don’t have a problem with a player incurring a penalty stroke if he has violated the rules, my problem is with them being disqualified for signing the incorrect score card. When the game was invented 500 years ago, they didn’t have slo-mo video, Twitter or cell phones to point out mistakes. If they are going to allow these methods for keeping the competition clean, then let’s modify the penalties to fit today’s world.

I can only hope the committee can see this rule for what it is, and change it. When a player is disqualified on this basis, it affects their yearly totals, as well as their ability to make a living on the Tour, so let’s let them continue to play.

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